Dia Beacon


This writer was not able to travel up to the new DIA Beacon, New York museum in the old Nabisco box factory for the press preview on the second Sunday in May. However, on the Sunday following he made his way to the new place in the old space at the bottom of the descent of hill in the still sleepy river town.


Once there he did not how to arrive at the site (which he had only glimpsed at before from an automobile parked at its gates before the factory space into museum place conversion had begun). So soon after arriving he walked back and forth until after more than an hour of pacing the city (tough stopping in for pizza) he finally met a local glass artisan who drove him down to the site (which turned out to be in relation to the train station where he was dropped off to begin with by Metro North literally right in front of his nose). Meanwhile, the ad hoc chauffeur was making idle chat with his friends about how the artists in the town were supposed to promote good relations with the facility {that self-directive seemingly hesitantly undertaken so that their efforts would then hopefully sail out into a providential wind and boomerang}.


Once inside the front gate of the compound this writer found out that the first piece of art to seamlessly present itself to one was designed by California's ultra cool Robert Irwin. That was after the four wheels of the van he was riding in rolled onto and then off from the asphalt and then onto the concrete and atop the surface area of the cubits of space removed and within the absences and patches of grass called "grasscrete" (and if you were not properly informed that it was by Robert Irwin based upon the designs of Arata Izosaki you might say it was by Hale Irwin based upon the designs of Arnold Palmer).


The trees around in the surround were very well selected. Furthermore they were obviously pruned precisely so as to imitate simulated versions of themselves. {cumulatively this all of a sudden had this writer in retrospect beginning to understand Irwin's minute vibrating bandwidths and add to that some of Bridget Riley's wilder squiggles not exhibited here in Beacon but celebrated by Dia in Chelsea a few years back}


All things totaled this place has smoothness to it. The minimalist players are all present and accounted for; Flavin. Ryman, Judd, Martin etceteras. Then the un-complex are joined in this one building complex by the Earth artists (Walter Demaria, Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer;) some mixed Germans conceptualists and or otherwise (Gehard Richter, Josef Beuys, Blinky Palermo) and other associated artists (Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois etceteras) whom the DIA insiders have deemed apropos to drop into their canon.


As per being completely perplexed and overcome by all things Manhattan I found the place pleasing {of course not due to the fact that artists whose work is seen in New York can be seen here but for the calmness of the locale and the freshness of the air}. Many of these artists are not my taste. But frankly I don't feel like repeating my previous lambastes for given this palatial beyond super spatial roomy roominess the whole orchestra convenes to resonate.


This writer was quoted in the New York Sun as saying that the unexpected power of minimalism was seen in Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda's towers of remembrance. Though what I actually meant to say was not that all minimalist works carry great emotional power but here was a counter point- i.e. that a lesson learned by the towers of remembrance artists from Dan Flavin and his light sculptures was able to translate into a profound and elegant expression of great public emotion at an hour of high tragedy. Further for lessons well learned from minimalism and the expressed better in the format of the public memorial one need look no further than Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans' memorial in Washington DC.


My favorite work here is John Chamberlain's "Fauvist landscape". This stationary unraveling shredded kaleidoscope is a long contiguous wall of boldly spray-painted ripped metal can fabric. Given this amount of room the once and while Taylor Mead hugging artists' magnum opus is some kind of magnificent.


Counting side appendixes there are four floors here. In the uppermost reaches Louise Bourgeois' larval (possibly scatological?) sculptures seem like a strange dream kept away from all the purity below. Then the Richard Serra's in gallery on the way downstairs to the Bruce Naumans are epic. The crowds here as everywhere seem to enjoy themselves within these gargantuan works by this sculptor with the notoriously gargantuan ego.


What Dia Beacon is a pleasant moment in time. Sitting in the caf€ at the metal tables with hypnotic circles inlaid and looking out at the "grasscrete" grid of the front entrance as it invisibly blurs into the parking lot one may feel as if it is all unreal.


Finally here the Nabisco building becomes as if a cathedral the American commerce. Andy Warhol pointed out, as is a bar of soap or screwdriver; celebrities, are an indigenous American product and iconized them. So here the former factory with its long wide hallways, sturdy columns, and the staggered series of diagonals making up the skylights of a large section of the main buildings roof can now be seen as a grand temple. Kudos should be given to the architecture firm of open office who masterminded the conversion of this former factory space