Did I really forget my Nikon while visiting Opus 40 today? Shamefully, I did. But because the indigenous bluestone garden is so spectacular it’s impossible for even a camera phone to take a bad photo.
Harvey Fite, a visionary sculpture artist spent nearly 40 years (1938-1976) or roughly half his life chiseling a pile of worthless rubble into this incredible art formation.
The initial purpose was to create platforms to display his figurative sculptures but after traveling to Honduras where he learned about Mayan keystone masonry, the abandoned quarry itself became the focus, if not the obsession.
A labyrinth of pools, bridges, terraces and ramps are open to the public for all to enjoy. A 9-ton, 15-foot monolith stands like a unwavering flagpole in the heart of the sculpture.
The most beguiling detail is that no mortar was ever used to balance the teetering blue stones. Due to harsh winters and hot summers many stones have become loose and slippery. A nonprofit group that oversees the property hires a highly-skilled female artist from Vermont to maintain it.
Fossils are supposed to be embedded in the rock but I saw shedding snake skin instead.
Narrow subterranean pathways, 16-feet deep and muddy at times, can make you feel like you’re spelunking.
Mutti joked that she felt tempted to take a dip despite the algae.
Also on the grounds are a Quarryman’s Museum with a vast collection of tools and artifacts, an outdoor cafe, art and gift gallery and walking trails.
While visiting this morning, a small wedding was taking place under a tent with Overlook Mountain as a backdrop.
For over 10 years, Opus 40 has been designated on the National Register of Historic Places but it’s the efforts of volunteers, memberships, music concerts and rotating exhibits that have kept this 6-acre parcel in the Catskills alive.
New Board of Directors President Bob Karcy sees big opportunities for Opus 40 including studio space to accommodate artists-in-residents and videotaping future performances in the amphitheater.
For more information on a busy 2012 Event Schedule, go to www.opus40.org.