Art Omi

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I wonder what it would be like to walk up to Alice Aycock’s “A Simple Network of Underground Wells & Tunnels” with a group of adults. I can’t imagine that they would sprint to the openings as if they had waited their whole life for this, then freeze realizing that the irresistible wells are equally terrifying. It’s good to remember that there is a time when my children’s emotional transparency is a gift. The next step is to choose whether climbing down this wobbly ladder into a dark hole is a smart choice. Once they overcame their fear, a whole new world opened up. The journey is on.

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Aycock’s artwork consists of underground tunnels made out of concrete block, arranged in a grid, and varying slightly in depth. Even on a hot summer day, the tunnels are damp and cold. Traversing the tunnels over and over, you feel like you are always in the same tunnel and always going somewhere new. But let’s be honest, after my two year old took a nose dive,  I planted myself in the deepest, darkest hole to play lifeguard and take pictures. Everyone else raced around laughing at the surprises and squealing at the darkness. We were literally going no where and having so much fun getting there. We played in a hole, and it was fun. But the opportunity of this artwork is to experience something new about the logic of our journey.

alice aycock
original construction in 1975

We visited Art Omi on a weekend because this is the only time Alice Aycock’s earthwork and the augmented reality exhibition are staffed. Art Omi is most known for it’s international art residency program. The grounds include a collection of temporary and permanent projects by artists and architects that are open to the public. It is free to visit and borrow one of their adult bikes. A cafe, gallery, and restrooms are located in the visitors center right beside the parking lot. On a Sunday afternoon we saw a few people in the cafe, but did not see anyone while we explored the 60 acres.

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Alice Aycock also has two sculptures at Storm King, which we visited a few days earlier. Art Omi is not nearly as grand as Storm King, but the rural, relaxed feeling is an asset. The artworks are more contemporary and change more often.  Because of this, they feel fresh and have more potential for debate. The risk of new work is that it isn’t good and that can be intriguing to consider.  Art Omi has a plethora of opportunities for children ages 4 1/2 and older, including Saturday workshops and summer camps. The children’s workshop (pictured below) looked like so much fun! Tomorrow I will post about how we spent our morning in Hudson before visiting Art Omi. You can read about the rest of our trip in earlier posts on New York City, Dia Beacon, Storm King, and Tannersville.

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Below are pictures of Aycock’s other work. She currently has three new outdoor sculptures in the South at the Georgia Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of Amercian Art, and a new work going up in Coral Gables, Florida.

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limited-edition print for Aycock’s Park Avenue Paper Chase (2014)
photography by Dayton Castleman
Aycock’s installation at Crystal Bridges, photographed by Dayton Castleman


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