How a Quarry in Upstate New York Became America’s ‘Stonehenge’
Imagine taking an ordinary wall of rock and turning it into a masterpiece.
Then imagine performing this minor miracle over an expanse of 6.5 acres. The result would be Opus 40, a stunning combination of nature, archictecture and art that is a permanent part of the landscape in Upstate New York. It would make a cool destination for a day trip from Central New York. Here's an amazing YouTube video tour from Professional Projects NY:
The work is a large environmental sculpture carved out of a bluestone quarry in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties. It was created by Harvey Fite, a former professor of sculpture and theater at Bard College. He purchased the idle quarry in 1938, expecting to use it as a source of raw stone to create sculptures.
Instead of removing the stone and creating sculptures, though, he decided to leave the stone right where it was, in its natural habitat, and then create his signature artwork on the spot. The result is remarkable, as you can see in fabulous detail on the Opus 40 website.
The number 40 in the artwork's title represents the number of years Fite estimated he'd need to complete his ambitious project. He died in year 37, from a fall he suffered while working in the quarry.
Fortunately, the majority of his work remains and Architectural Digest describes it as "one of the largest and most beguiling works of art on the entire continent."
Today, Opus 40 welcomes 15,000 visitors annually, photo shoots, weddings, and an occasional special concert event; Rolling Stone magazine calls it “the best outdoor performance venue in the Northeast.”