Jun 26, 1995

Dia Center for the Arts, a New York-based multidisciplinary contemporary arts institution, has been awarded a $1 million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, according to Dia's director Michael Govan. The grant, which requires a 5-to-1 matching contribution from other sources, will become the cornerstone of a long-range fundraising initiative aimed at building an endowment for Dia's long-term, site-specific art installations and its exhibition facilities on 22nd Street in West Chelsea, said Govan.

The grant is part of a new initiative by the Mellon Foundation to identify exceptional institutions at unique moments in their development. It is a highly selective program that seeks to assist anomalous opportunities that would not otherwise be considered in Mellon Foundation's discipline-specific programs.

Dia is planning to expand its 22nd Street exhibition facilities in the next decade to create permanent public exhibition galleries for Dia's internationally recognized collection of American and European painting and sculpture of the 1960s and 70s, including works by artists Joseph Beuys, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Imi Knoebel, Blinky Palermo, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol.

Founded by the single patronage of Philippa de Menil and Heiner Friedrich in the 1970s, Dia faced severe financial difficulties in 1983 and was reorganized with an independent Board of Trustees. Over the last decade, under the leadership of former director Charles Wright, Dia developed new programs including single-artist exhibitions, publications, symposia and lectures, poetry readings, and dance performances to reemerge as a vital participant in the international field of contemporary culture.

Last year, in collaboration with the Carnegie Institute and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Dia opened the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, which includes over 150 works from Dia's permanent collection. In February of this year, in collaboration with the Menil Collection, Dia opened the Cy Twombly Gallery in Houston, Texas.

"Dia's challenge now," said Govan, "is to continue to broaden public access to its unique programs, and, in particular, to its unparalleled collection. From Walter De Maria's The Lightning Field in New Mexico, to Andy Warhol's installation of 104 Shadow Paintings planned for permanent installation on 22nd Street, Dia has, from its inception, supported artistic projects of a scale and scope not easily accommodated by more traditional museums. The value of Dia's unique institutional approach has become evident to the public, and Dia is now in a position to seek public support for its efforts, with the help of this leadership grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."

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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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