Storm King Art Center is a 500-acre outdoor museum located in New York’s Hudson Valley, where visitors experience large-scale sculpture and site-specific commissions under open sky. Since 1960, Storm King has been dedicated to stewarding the hills, meadows, and forests of its site and surrounding landscape. Building on the visionary thinking of its founders, Storm King supports artists and some of their most ambitious works. Changing exhibitions, programming, and seasons offer discoveries with every visit. [source]
Mark Dion Bureau of Censorship, 1996/2019 Mixed media installation
Mark Dion The Memory Box, 2016 Mixed media installation
Inside this shed are many little boxes, which visitors are invited to take off the shelf and open in order to discover the objects inside. ”I want to provoke a childlike curiosity and the anxiety of looking through your mother and father’s chest of drawers when they’re not home,” Dion has said, reflecting on the work.
In Castle Williams, which was built in the early 19th century to protect New York Harbour, then used as a prison during the Civil War, following which the US Army improved the facilities by adding insulation, heating, running water, and, eventually, electricity, and used it as a US Army Prison. In 1915, it was made a branch of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks, of which the prison facility at Alcatraz in San Francisco was also a branch.
When they weren’t admiring the view to Manhattan and New York Harbour, inmates were listening to music from a Victrola (record player) they had purchased with money they had made taking in laundry, or took typing and steno lessons, offered through the Y.M.C.A., likely taught by female volunteers. And, while in Alcatraz, the prisoners had the backbreaking task of building their own cells out of heavy stones, ”hard labour” at Governors Island meant mowing the lawns. There were those that tried to escape, of course, but it was not an uncommon to see soldiers who had gone AWOL surrender themselves outside of the Battery Maritime Building, hoping to be imprisoned at Castle Williams.
Anyway, “Castle Bill”, as it was lovingly called by its residents, remained a branch of the US Army Disciplinary Barracks until Governors Island’s closure as an Army base in 1966. The Coast Guard did not maintain a prison in Castle Williams but readapted it for their own needs by using it as a community center featuring arts and crafts classrooms, a ballet studio, meeting rooms for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, a daycare room, and a teen club.
And when, in 1996 all Military and Coast Guard operations seized, the enlisted men, women and their families that lived on the island year-round departed, living behind them a small town. Since then, the facilities – the island itself, are slowly being converted into a public park.
It still has the best views to Manhattan and New York Harbour.
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