Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dia:Beacon


When you spend a lot of time in New York City, it's important to be able to get the hell out of New York City. Central Park only offers a cursory (albeit vital) respite from the cacophony, crowds, and crap you have to deal with, so getting on a train and rolling along the Hundson is a wonderful thing. Today I took the train from Grand Central 70 miles north to Beacon, New York, home to one of the Dia Foundation's exhibition spaces. The foundation houses a contemporary art collection in a former Nabisco box-printing factory, built in 1929 and much like many other domiciles of fine art (the Getty in L.A., the Tate Modern in London, the Prada store in SoHo to name a few), the building is as much a draw as its contents. The gallery space is 240,000 square feet and lit almost entirely by natural light; the original wood floors remain, and the high ceilings, starkness, and wide open galleries made me want to choose a corner for myself, put in a comfy couch, 65-inch flat screen TV, bookshelf, toaster oven, mini-fridge, and move right in.

Map of Broken Glass
The collection on display was stunning. I don't pretend to understand abstract conceptual art installations, I just know I love looking at them. Giant piles of broken glass (Robert Smithson's "Map of Broken Glass [Atlantis])," enormous, geometric holes in the ground, dug down 20 feet below the building's floor (Michael Heizer's "North, East, South, West"), a whole gallery dedicated to Richard Serra's sculptures (although "Wake" at the Olympic Sculpture Park at home is still my favorite), and most amazing, Sol LeWitt's "Drawing Series" - I can't even begin to explain this one, so this is from a review from the New York Times about the part of the exhibit I found most... profound?:

"The earliest works in this show are two immense, fuguelike drawings from Dia’s collection that line the four walls of the four galleries designed for them and are being shown in their complete form here for the first time. They are theme-and-variation meditations on grids whose squares are veiled by fine, gauzy parallel lines, whether horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Moving through all the possibilities of layering and sequence, first in graphite and then in colored pencil, the works swing back and forth between symmetry and randomness, alternately confounding and reassuring the senses."
Sol LeWitt's Drawing Series - this picture in no way does it justice

North, East, South, West
I'm not even sure I know what that means, but I loved looking at the giant drawings.



Main Street, Beacon
the grounds
After I visited Dia, I walked into the tiny (5-square miles) village of Beacon and walked down the main street before heading back to the station and taking the train back to New York. The towns along the Hudson could not be further from the bustle of the city; they are quiet and quaint and picturesque. It was a totally enjoyable day.

Photos are not allowed in the gallery so all pictures of the art are stock from the web.
the galleries
the Hudson
the terminal