The Perfect Art Day Trips from New York This Summer

From the Hamptons to Kinderhook, some of the season’s best exhibitions are just hours from the city

The Dan Flavin Art Institute is housed in a former fire station in Bridgehampton, New York, not far from where the artist once lived. It is now run by the DIA art foundation.
Photo: Courtesy of the Dan Flavin Institute

As New York’s galleries close this August, it’s time for a summer art pilgrimage. From the Hamptons to Kinderhook, some of the season’s best exhibitions are just hours from the city. Whether you’re in the mood for a simple day trip or a full weekend excursion, taking public transportation or driving, it’s possible to see new cultural venues in tranquil settings that hold their own appeal. Take the chance while you can. The madness of New York’s fall art season is nigh.

External view of the Dan Flavin Institute Photo: Courtesy of the Dan Flavin Institute.

The Dan Flavin Art Institute
Mary Heilmann: Painting Pictures 
Bridgehampton, through May 27, 2018

A neon glow welcomes visitors to the Dan Flavin Art Institute. Two radiating works by the eponymous artist, known for making minimalist art from commercially available fluorescent tubes, hang above the front doors. The building itself is a renovated firehouse, charming with its wood-shingle exterior and white picket fence. In addition to a permanent collection of Flavin’s work, the institute also hosts a temporary exhibition of paintings and ceramics by Mary Heilmann. The creator of vibrant, off-kilter abstractions, she now lives in town; her studio, and the ocean that frequently serves as her inspiration, are right around the corner. 23 Corwith Avenue, Bridgehampton, New York 

Three works by Giulio Paolini mingle in a gallery space: L’exil du cygne collage (left), Mimesi plaster casts (center), and Appunti per la descrizione di un quadro datato (right). The taxidermic reindeer head and neon, Senza titolo, is by Mario Merz. Photo: Marco Anelli. Courtesy of Magazzino Italian Art.

Magazzino Italian Art
Margherita Stein: Rebel with a Cause
Cold Spring, through the fall 

The recently opened Magazzino Italian Art warehouse is an impressive structure of cool, simple poured concrete filled with masterfully directed natural light. The elegant museum houses Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu’s collection of postwar and contemporary Italian art. This summer, the patrons inaugurate their space with a show honoring Margherita Stein, an Italian gallerist and pioneer of the Arte Povera movement. Throughout her life, Stein fostered the careers of the artists whose work is on view. The impressive roster includes Marisa Merz (to whom the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently devoted an entire exhibition), Michelangelo Pistoletto (known for his works that incorporate mirrors), and Alighiero Boetti (who received a solo show at MoMA in 2012). 2700 Route 9, Cold Spring, New York 

David Smith’s White Sculptures at Storm King.

Storm King
David Smith: The White Sculptures
Lower Hudson Valley, through November 12 

This sculpture park is currently enjoying a reputation as an ideal date spot after Aziz Ansari included it in his television series, Master of None. And, indeed, a walk along the 500 acres of hills, grass, wooded areas, and wildflowers is perfectly romantic. Regardless of who you go with, the park offers world-class art, stunning views, and splendid picnic locations. This summer, a temporary exhibition of white sculptures by David Smith brings six of the artist’s large welded-steel constructions into conversation with the permanent fixtures, which include Maya Lin’s undulating hills in Storm King Wavefield and weathered steel plates in Richard Serra’s Schunnemunk Fork. You can find many of the biggest names in sculpture here. 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York 

 

The School was launched in 2013 in a converted elementary school. Photo: Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery

Jack Shainman’s The School
The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness
Kinderhook, through January 6, 2018 

Gallerist Jack Shainman’s upstate outpost, many times the size of his Chelsea gallery, offers him a unique opportunity to display works: in the classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms of a former school. This summer, his massive exhibition centers on three fantasy coffins in the forms of European castles that formerly held America-bound slaves. As memorials and reminders of America’s insidious past, the works offer somber notes complemented by pieces by contemporary artists such as Kerry James Marshall, David Altmejd, and Nina Chanel Abney. Once you’ve toured the show, plan time for some old-fashioned recess and enjoy the school’s sprawling backyard. 25 Broad Street, Kinderhook, New York