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Harvey Fite’s “Opus 40” (via flickr/Jason Eppink) (click to enlarge)

August rapidly approached and we could all use an excuse to leave the city. Let off some steam by bouncing on inflatable sculptures at the Hudson River Museum, discover Edward Hopper’s childhood home, or marvel at the various vistas of New York and Connecticut’s sculpture gardens. Here are some of our favorite artistic escapes.

 Opus 40

When: Thursday to Sunday, 11am—5:30pm
Where: 50 Fite Road, Saugerties, New York ($10)

Sculptor Harvey Fite spent 37 years transforming an abandoned bluestone quarry near Woodstock, New York, into his own fantastic topography. Spiraling ramps descend into crevices in the 6.5 acres that ripple around a central nine-ton monolith, all rising against an atmospheric view of the Catskills. Tragically, Fite died in 1976 while working on Opus 40, and it was subsequently opened as a museum in his honor. You’ll probably need a car for this excursion, but it’s only a two-and-a-half hour drive from New York City, and in that amount of time you could listen to Mercury Rev’s inspired “Opus 40” at least 50 times. —Allison Meier

Distance from Midtown NYC: 2 hrs 30 mins by car

A detail of a mosaic at Untermyer Park (photo by Allison Meier for Hyperallergic) (click to enlarge)

 Inflatable Art and Atmospheric Gardens

When: Through September 18, Wednesday—Sunday, 12—5pm
Where: Hudson River Museum (511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, New York) and Untermyer Park (945 North Broadway, Yonkers, New York)

Take Metro North to Glenwood Station in Yonkers, and the Hudson River Museum is just steps away, but something might appear a bit strange. Fat, red sculptures balloon from the entryway and the tower windows of the attached Glenview historic home. These are part of Jimmy Kuehnle’s Tongue in Cheek, an exhibition of inflatable sculptures that consume various parts of the museum, and visitors are encouraged to bounce around on this pressure-filled contemporary art. After, if you need a break from all that polyester action, walk down to nearby 44-acre, early 20th-century Untermyer Park and watch the sunset from the recently restored Temple of Love that overlooks the Hudson River from a rocky fountain. And maybe cruise back to the museum after dark, when Kuehnle’s Glenview spire installation lights up and appears like some sort of otherworldly infestation. —AM

Distance from Midtown NYC: 33 mins by train; 44 mins by car

Dennis Oppenheim, “Dead Furrow” (1967/2016)” at Storm King Art Center (by Jake Silby for Hyperallergic) (click to enlarge)

 Dennis Oppenheim and Josephine Halvorson at Storm King Art Center

When: Through Tuesday, November 1
Where: Storm King Art Center (1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York)

Even if you’ve previously paid a visit to Storm King, its current exhibitions are well worth this day trip, with works that offer new perspectives of its always well-kept landscape. A Dennis Oppenheim exhibition features two large sculptures that were never previously fully realized, including a tower with a stunning lookout point, and an indoor display is a wonderful complement to the outdoors, highlighting some of the prolific artist’s projects that engaged with the earth in myriad ways. Also on view are sculptures by Josephine Halvorson, mostly known for her paintings. Her new works offer a way of measuring the land — quite literally, standing as supersized yardsticks that invite you to consider your own place within the environment. And while you’re enjoying the non-city air, don’t forget to keep an eye out for some local wildlife — you may just spot a groundhog or a coyote. —Claire Voon

Distance from Midtown NYC: 1 hr 30 mins by bus or car

 Yayoi Kusama at the Glass House

Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden” (photo by Tiernan Morgan for Hyperallergic) (click to enlarge)

When: Through Wednesday, November 30 (tickets start at $25)
Where: The Glass House (199 Elm Street, New Canaan, Connecticut)

Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden” is currently on view beside Philip Johnson’s Pavilion in the Pond (1962). The work consists of 1,300 floating steel spheres that gently collide and clatter against one another in the summer breeze. Originally created for the Venice Biennale in 1966, Kusama’s latest installation marks the 10th year of public access to the Glass House site. The installation is accompanied by “PUMPKIN” (2015), an enormous steel sculpture installed in the vicinity of Johnson’s iconic home. In September, the “walls” of the Glass House will be covered with polka dots, transforming the space into one of Kusama’s “Infinity Rooms.” “Narcissus Garden” is a simple, beautiful, and complimentary accompaniment to Johnson’s home. Book a tour while you can. —Tiernan Morgan

Distance from Midtown NYC: 1 hr 10 mins by train; 1 hrs 30 mins by car

 Edward Hopper Art House Center

When: Wednesday to Sunday, 12–5 pm
Where: Edward Hopper Art House Center (82 North Broadway, Nyack, New York; $7 for adults; $5 for seniors; $2 for students 17 & above; free for 16 years & under)

Artist studios are often delightful insights into the work process and inspirations of an artist, but childhood homes often offer something less expected and mysterious. In Nyack, New York, you can visit Edward Hopper’s birthplace and home until the age of 28, when he moved permanently to New York City. The house, largely Victorian in character, acts as a nonprofit art center, inviting you to explore Hopper’s early art and memorabilia and imagine what it might have been like for him to roam those rooms. Currently on view is a selection of large-scale photographs from David LaChapelle’s Gas Stations series, inspired by Hopper’s painting, “Gas” (1940). If you make the trip on Thursday, you’ll also catch the last concert in the Jazz Music in the Garden program, featuring the David Budway Quartet.

Distance from Midtown NYC: 43 minutes by train; 53 minutes by car

 Jack Shainman’s The School

When: Through Saturday, October 29th, Saturday, 11am—5pm
Where: The School, Jack Shainman Gallery (25 Broad Street, Kinderhook, New York)

I genuinely like a long excursion out of town up to The School, which is nestled in a small town where the streets are lined with trees and you can hear things besides traffic and sirens. It seems that one’s appetite is better when out in the country air. The current exhibition there is A Change of Place: Four Solo Exhibitions. There are four artists included in the show: Pierre Dorion, Hayv Kahraman, Richard Mosse, and Garnett Puett, who all make work that has to with transformation, the environment, and memory. The artists’ practices encompass painting, sculpture, and photography. —Seph Rodney

Distance from Midtown NYC: 2.5 hours by train; about the same by car

Yale Center for British Art, Yale University (photo via Allison Meier on Flickr)

 Yale University

When: Check individual museum and gallery websites for opening times
Where: Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

There are hundreds of day-trips worth of art housed in Yale University’s ten museums, historic libraries, and galleries, all of which are open to the public, and most of which are free of charge. Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 masterwork “The Night Cafe” is the star of the Yale University Art Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside famous collections of African sculpture and modern art by the likes of Rothko, Picasso, and Kandinsky. Currently on view are 3,000 Years of Ancient Andean Textiles, as well as an exhibition of King Francis I of France’s 16th-century collection of opulent Italian Renaissance-inspired art, which decorated his Fontainebleau château. The Louis Kahn-designed Yale Center for British Art, which reopened in March, is a must-see for anglophiles and architecture nerds alike. To scope the young bloods, visit the Yale School of Art and Architecture Galleries. And to avoid art overload, check out the brontosaurus skeleton looming in the Great Hall of Dinosaurs at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. —Carey Dunne

Distance from Midtown NYC: about 2 hours by car or train

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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Carey Dunne, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Seph Rodney, and Claire Voon

Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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