Mar 08, 1999

In a joint announcement today, the State of New York and Dia Center for the Arts, a New York-based not-for-profit contemporary arts organization, presented plans to create a new museum of contemporary art in a 292,000 square-foot historic box-printing facility situated along the Hudson River in Beacon, New York. Sixty miles north of Dia's Manhattan art center, the building and its 26-acre site is a short walk from Beacon's Metro North rail station and adjacent to 70 acres of riverfront parkland. The museum, which is expected to open to the public in 2003, will house Dia's permanent collection.

Built in 1929 by the Nabisco Company, the facility is being donated by its current owner, International Paper. International Paper CEO, John C. Dillon, joined Governor George E. Pataki, Beacon City Mayor Clara Lou Gould, Dia Center for the Arts Chairman Leonard Riggio and Dia Director Michael Govan in announcing the new project which will have international cultural significance as well as notable economic impact on the growing mid-Hudson region.

"The historic steel, concrete, and glass structure is a model of functional and elegant early 20th century industrial architecture. Distinguished by high ceilings, large open spaces, and an extensive system of north-facing skylights, this Beacon building is ideally suited to showcase the large-scale contemporary masterpieces in Dia's vast and rarely seen permanent collection," states Michael Govan.

Dia expects at least 50,000-60,000 visitors to the new museum annually, and perhaps significantly more over time. The audience is expected to consist largely of new destination visitors from the U.S. and abroad, as well as some of the growing Hudson River Valley tourist base. The museum will complement the neighboring Storm King sculpture park, building critical mass in attracting new visitors to view Modern and contemporary visual art in the Mid-Hudson region.

Michael Govan remarks, "For two decades Dia has been a pioneer in the restoration and conversion of large industrial buildings for public display of contemporary art. Working with artists such as Donald Judd in the 1970s, Dia created installations that situated artworks in the generous open space and simple raw beauty of vernacular warehouses and factories; these have inspired numerous similar museum conversions in the United States and abroad."

In Beacon, Dia will exhibit masterpieces from its collection ranging from Andy Warhol's 1979 Shadows, a single installation of 102 paintings which requires 454 running feet of wall space (part of which is now on view at Dia's 545 West 22nd Street gallery), to Richard Serra's recently acquired Torqued Ellipses which occupied an entire building when shown in Manhattan during the past year. Consequently, the new museum in Beacon will become one of the world's finest installations of the work of major American and European artists of the last four decades.

Assembled largely during the 1970s and early 80s by Dia founders, German art dealer Heiner Friedrich and Houston arts patron Philippa de Menil, the collection today includes major holdings by artists including Joseph Beuys, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Imi Knoebel, Blinky Palermo, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and Robert Whitman. The collection on view in Beacon will be augmented with new acquisitions and long-term loans, as well as site-specific interventions.

In addition, Dia owns a group of nineteenth-century Hudson River School drawings by John Kensett, Aaron Shattuck, and other American masters which was assembled by artist Dan Flavin. A long-time resident of the Hudson Valley, Flavin lived and worked in Cold Spring and Garrison, New York in the 1960s and 70s, acknowledging the light and the landscape of the Hudson Valley as influential on his sculptures of colored fluorescent light. In addition, he worked with Dia on plans, never realized, to display his own work alongside the nineteenth century landscape drawings in a museum in the Hudson Valley.

The new Beacon museum represents a significant expansion of Dia's national presence. Established in converted industrial buildings on West 22nd Street in Manhattan more than a decade ago, Dia's exhibition galleries and programs have now become the center of the new Chelsea art district, helping attract over 70 new and relocated commercial galleries and transforming the area's former industrial district into an international cultural destination. Permanent installations at the new Beacon museum will complement Dia's ongoing contemporary exhibition program, poetry readings, lectures, symposia, performances, and related events in New York City. Dia will extend some of its diverse special programs to Beacon, particularly during the summer months when the Chelsea facility is always closed to the public.

Dia also maintains and operates several long-term site-specific art installations including Walter De Maria's The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer in New York City; The Lightning Field in New Mexico; the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, Long Island; as well as collaborative initiatives including The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and The Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston.

Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and contemporary culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in poetry, visual arts, education, and critical discourse and debate.

For more information about Dia Art Foundation please visit our website at http://www.diaart.org.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, press@diaart.org or 212 293 5518

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