One of the most important tasks an artist has is to continuously explore. It is vital to the creative process that artists spend time researching new possibilities and looking at past work. Art is a constant dialogue and the best way to enter into the dialogue is to go to galleries and museums and see what is happening in the art world. This allows artists to better understand what is happening around them and how to either enter into that space, or to create a new uninhabited space that opposes the current art market.
One gem that is an easy day trip from NYC would be DIA:Beacon. A contemporary art museum that showcases work from artists like Louise Lawler, Dan Flavin, and Walter De Maria. It is situated on the Hudson River in a quaint town that offers much to do.