Opus 40 looks like something that may have been constructed by a group of extraterrestrials, or something left behind by an ancient civilization. What Opus 40 actually is is a sprawling rock sculpture created one man and many years of hard work. The winding and multi-leveled playground of stone is located in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties, New York and worth the two hour drive from New York City.
It is hard to grasp the enormous size of the sculpture without being there in person. The 6½-acre earthwork sculpture park features subterranean pathways that plunge sixteen feet below ground and a centerpiece monolith that stretches three stories above ground. The monolith alone weighs 9 tons! When you arrive at Opus 40 you are given a map to help navigate the swirling ramps, expansive ledges and narrow underground tunnels of the sculpture.
Opus 40 is remarkably the work on one man, Harvey Fite, one of the founders of the Bard College Fine Arts Department. In 1938, Fite purchased an abandoned quarry in Ulster County, New York and over the next 37 years crafted the bluestone sculpture using dry-key stone masonry techniques picked-up from his time working on the restoration of the the Mayan civilization at Copan.
In addition to the sculpture, Fite’s land hosts several other structures including a wood and stone home, a studio, garage, blacksmith shop and the Quarryman’s Museum. Opus 40 is open to the public Thursday through Sunday and on Holiday Mondays from Memorial Day through mid-November, 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Check out more photos from our visit below!