This past sweaty, sunny, generally heat stroke inducing weekend I spent in the Village of Saugerties, some 100 miles north of NYC. I was with my ADPhamily (Society) on our summer grad retreat; a weekend of brotherhood or something but most importantly time spent at an AirBnB that had central air. On our last day, Sunday, before heading our separate ways we paid a visit to Opus 40, a ginormous rock sculpture thing 15 minutes outside of the village.
Opus 40 is the culmination of 4-score years of work by Harvey Fite. Fite was a sculptor in wood and stone, and took this career description to another level after he purchased an abandoned quarry to create the 6 and a half acre bluestone sculpture that is Opus 40. Though he passed away 3 years short of his goal, Fite’s work is no less impressive (like, I can barely play Jenga).
The work, as described by its website:
Constructed by this one man, using dry-key stone techniques adapted from the Mayans, Opus 40 is made from millions of pieces of indigenous bluestone, laid by hand, creating a labyrinthine world of finely fitted stone, swirling with ramps and terraces constructed around pools and trees and fountains, rising out of bedrock a half mile deep.
– A Brief History, opus40.org
Fite’s intention was to blend the stonework of Opus 40 with the landscape. Example: a majestic slope of bluestone complete with the majestic Catskills in the distance.
The groundwater was, admittedly, a disgusting shade of algae. Parts of the grounds feature ponds and fountains, but, as she tends to, Mother Nature has already worked to reclaim these areas in the decades since the artist’s death.
Also featured were subterranean pathways; particularly enjoyable as a source of cool air on a hot day. Of course, there’s also the connection to the earth these pathways inspire. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, stone to stone.
Some impromptu guest pieces served as either an homage to the site or a memorial to Fite. Either that or someone was bored.
Obligatory: art rocks.