New York, NY—This fall, Dia presents You see I am here after all, a new work by American artist Zoe Leonard that opens at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries on September 21, 2008, and will be on view through January 9, 2011. You see I am here after all comprises several thousand postcards of Niagara Falls that the artist collected in flea markets and online auctions.
The cards Leonard has amassed range in date from the early 1900s, when postcards were first allowed by the U.S. Postal Service, to the post-War era, when they had become a ubiquitous part of the American travel experience. Along with other reproductive media, postcards contributed significantly to the transformation of natural sites into tourist destinations. You see I am here after all offers a filter for exploring the ways in which cultural constructions have mapped, shaped, and framed the geography and topography of North America over time. If taken singly, each card may attest to a unique encounter with a particular location at a specific historical moment (as evidenced in the message inscribed on one of them: "You see I am here after all"). En masse, they reflect decades of changing technologies during which the motif of the Falls, shot from a few standard vantage points, was revisioned: hand-colored, over-painted, cropped, or otherwise manipulated in accordance with changing notions of truth and taste. Organized by viewpoint and installed in grids, the ensemble unfolds like a Chinese scroll with one renowned vista succeeded by another.
In its exploration of its subject and medium, as well as its structure and layout, Leonard’s monumental installation engages works by a number of artists in Dia’s collection, from Hanne Darboven and Sol LeWitt to Robert Smithson and Andy Warhol (works by the latter three are presently on view at Dia:Beacon). In addition, Leonard’s project provides an oblique commentary on the art of the Hudson River Landscape school, which had its origins in the late 19th century in the environs around Dia:Beacon and which has, similarly, become the subject of icon and cliché.
Leonard’s presentation is the third in an ongoing series at Dia:Beacon in which younger artists working in photography are invited to create a project in response to the collection, space, and site of the museum. Past installations have included An-My Lê, Trap Rock, 2006, on view from 2006 to 2008, and Vera Lutter, Nabisco Factory, Beacon, 1999-2003, on view from 2005 to 2006.
In keeping with Dia’s approach to producing exhibition related publications, Leonard’s Dia:Beacon project, You see I am here after all, will be accompanied by a scholarly book. This publication will shed light on Leonard’s strategies as they relate to the Dia project, her broader practice, and larger issues concerning the role of documentation in contemporary art. The book will be published in hardcover in 2009 and will include essays by Dia Curator Lynne Cooke and other art historians, critics, and related specialists, as well as full-color images of the installation.
Dia Presents Related Zoe Leonard Exhibition at The Hispanic Society of America
On November 5, 2008, Dia opens a second project by Zoe Leonard, at the Hispanic Society in northern Manhattan. The exhibition will contextualize Leonard’s monumental work Analogue (1998-2007), a series of nearly 400 photographs begun on the gentrifying streets of New York City, with a selection of historical artifacts chosen from the Hispanic Society’s collection.
Leonard’s project is the second installation in a four-year partnership in which Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the context of the Hispanic Society’s historical collection. The first project, Francis Alÿs: Fabiola, which was shown at the Hispanic Society in 2007–2008, is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through January 4, 2009.
Zoe Leonard was born in 1961 in Liberty, New York, and now lives and works in New York City. She has exhibited internationally since 1990, including solo presentations at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2007); Villa Arson, Nice, France (2007); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York City (2003); Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (1999); Centre National de la Photographie, Paris (1998); Kunsthalle Basel (1997); and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1993). In 2007, Leonard was the subject of a 20-year career retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, in Winterthur, Switzerland, which will travel to the Reina Sofía, in Madrid, in winter 2008.
Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries
Dia Art Foundation celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dia:Beacon in May 2008. The museum, which has welcomed 440,000 visitors since its opening, presents Dia’s distinguished collection of art from the 1960s to the present. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, the museum occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility that was renovated by Dia with artist Robert Irwin and architect OpenOffice.
Dia:Beacon’s expansive galleries comprise 240,000 square feet of exhibition space illuminated by natural light. These house works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half century, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.
The museum also presents temporary exhibitions, as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly gallery talks, Merce Cunningham Dance Company Events, music performances by St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Community Free Days for neighboring counties, and an education program that serves area students at all levels.
Dia:Beacon is easily reachable via Metro-North Railroad. Trains depart hourly from Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and the Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of the museum. For schedule and fare information, visit the MTA’s website at www.mta.nyc.ny.us. The museum is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia’s website at www.diaart.org. Admission is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia members and children under 12. Summer hours (through October 13, 2008) are Thursday through Monday, 11am to 6pm. Winter hours (starting October 17, 2008) are Friday through Monday, 11am to 4pm. The public information line for the museum is 845.440.0100.
Dia Art Foundation
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries. In the fall of 2007 Dia initiated a partnership with The Hispanic Society of America, where Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the Society’s galleries while seeking a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, Dia Art Foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and Bridgehampton, Long Island. For additional public information, visit www.diaart.org.
* * *
For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, email@example.com or 212 293 5518