According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, fall equinox is September 22 at 10:21 am. Times a ticking–there’s little under a month to go out and take that summer-y art trip that you’ve been talking about all season. Lucky for you, there’s some fantastic public art on display at several Northeast art parks, from a Sam Durant installation meant to educate on race issues to a modernist architectural masterpiece obliterated with Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots. Satiate your wanderlust on these trips, which include architecture, bucolic landscapes, and great art.
The Philip Johnson Glass House
928 Ponus Ridge Rd, New Canaan, CT 06840
Photos of Modernist Philip Johnson’s Glass House have populated Instagram feeds this summer, and for good reason. Currently installed in the pond in front of the glass house, Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden,” dazzles guests as gusts of wind sweep 1,300 steel spheres across the pond (on view through Nov. 30). Not to be missed, Sept. 1-16, the psychedelic Kusama will obliterate the architectural masterpiece, placing polka dots all over its glass exterior. Johnson’s Glass House was built in 1949 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997. Check it out on tours offered throughout August and September (must be booked in advance).
Take Metro North from Grand Central on the New Haven line to New Canaan, CT. During off-peak hours and weekends, transfer trains to the New Canaan extension line at the Stamford, CT train station. Shuttles from the train station to the Glass House Visitor Center are available.
269 Monument St., Concord, MA 01742
Built in 1770 and a National Historic Landmark, the Old Manse was the meeting place for politicians and transcendentalists of the early 19th century, such as Nathanial Hawthorne. Today, Sam Durant’s tent-like “Meeting House” installation plays on the communal history of this house, creating a space to discuss today’s race issues.
Aim to go in August, when the first of the public lyceums is scheduled to take place within the installation. During a picnic, guests enjoy traditional African-American dishes while historians speak on the politics and history of food. In the 19th century, Lyceums contributed to adult education with traveling lecturers traveling from town to town, entertaining, speaking and debating.
A weekend-length trip, take Amtrak from NYC’s Penn Station to Boston’s South Station, then jump in a cab or on Boston’s commuter rail to Concord, MA.
1405 County Route 22, Ghent, New York 12075
This upstate New York sculpture park also offers dance, music, and writing programming. Put a festive spin on your experience of its offerings on Sept. 17 at Light into the Night, a fundraising benefit held in the park’s Christmas tree light-lit Studio Barn. Read more about the event here.
On any other day, the 60-acre park boasts outdoor art by renowned artists, including works by Robert Melee and Freya Powell. Installed recently, Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley’s performance architecture piece “ReActor” precariously tips and spins about its central fulcrum pole with the movement of actors inside. Schweder and Shelley are completing weeklong performances in the glass house Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 6-10. Watch a stop-motion video of the structure’s installation above. Within the indoor gallery space, curator Andrew Zuckerman gives architects Leong Leong, LevenBetts, and Steven Holl the very Brancusian task of creating small works which capture essence of their aesthetic philosophies (on view through Sept. 25)
Take Amtrak from Penn Station to Hudson, New York.