Based in the town of Beacon one and a half hours outside of Manhattan, Dia have converted the old Nabisco printing factory – a bastion of America’s industrial past – to an expansive art space housing one of the world’s pre-eminent collectionof international and American art. Taking a train from the majestic Grand Central Station along the picturesque Hudson river you arrive at Beacon at once detached from the world around you and the cityscape that you’ve left behind.
Entering the main hall of the converted factory through a small entry building, you immediately encounter a vast expanse of space, with converted exhibition rooms that run for metres on end. The space and light that abounds is at once beguiling and engaging for the spectator. Designed by artist Robert Irwin in collaboration with the design firm OpenOffice, the main exhibition rooms are filled with natural light streaming in from the industrial saw tooth windows that shape the ceiling. This intelligent use of the existing structure of the building not only provides the space with lovely lived-in industrial details but also pays homage to the building’s blue collar past.
Housing Dia’s permanent collection along with a series of seasonal exhibitions, there is almost a sense of reverence when the spectator views some of the work on the walls. With specific galleries featuring works by Joseph Beuys, Sol Le Witt and Dan Flavin,
Richard Serra’s monumental metallic sculptures which envelope the space in a swirl of power and materiality were a highlight. Encountering these structures on a massive scale with their play of angles & height made our presence in the room feel decidedly miniscule. Combined with Sol Le Witt’s pencil wall studies of geometry and shapes, Dia:Beacon is a beautifully serene visual and spatial experience that is a must see for any visitor to New York.
Address: 3 Beekman Street, Beacon, NY 12508
Opening Hours: 11:00–16:00 (April–October till 18:00)
Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday (Thursdays in January, February, and March)
Tel: +1 845 440 0100
Copyright Leon Goh & SHIFT 2012