Aug 04, 2010

For Immediate Release, New York, NY--Philippe Vergne, director of Dia Art Foundation, today announced the appointment of Susan Sayre Batton as managing director, Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, effective September 1, 2010. Ms. Batton succeeds Steven Evans, who left Dia in July of this year to become the executive director and curator of the Linda Pace Foundation, in San Antonio, Texas.

Ms. Batton, who will be based at Dia:Beacon, will supervise the operations and administration of the museum, including planning, fundraising, community relations, and the implementation of public programs and exhibitions, among other areas. Located in New York’s Hudson Valley, Dia:Beacon is the permanent home for Dia’s renowned collection of artworks from the 1960s to the present. It is an integral part of Dia’s constellation of sites, which includes additional exhibition spaces and long-term projects that span the United States. In her new position, Ms. Batton will work closely with senior staff across Dia’s locations, articulating and promoting the ways in which Dia:Beacon can contribute to the institution’s mission of realizing artists’ visions. Her leadership will help maintain the museum’s position as both a destination of national and international significance, and a prominent cultural resource in the Hudson Valley.

Philippe Vergne states, “Susan Batton brings together a rare set of qualities: an acute understanding of art and of Dia’s history, philosophy, and mission, and very substantial experience in institutional management. Her clear and methodical thinking, along with her skills and expertise, will benefit the institution, its patrons, the artists, and our audiences. At the same time, her passion for art and museums will make her a marvelous ambassador for Dia in the Hudson Valley. I know I speak for my colleagues when I say how much I look forward to the work we will do together.”

Susan Batton says, “This is a thrilling time to join Dia. I am particularly drawn to the vision of Director Philippe Vergne, as well as to the talented and dedicated staff who bring energy and enthusiasm to the institution. Reflecting on Dia's distinguished, artist-centered past, and my own training as an artist, conservator, and arts administrator, I am honored to support Dia's dynamic evolution, the development and growth of Dia:Beacon, and the exciting programmatic and capital initiatives envisioned by Philippe, Curator Yasmil Raymond, and my future Dia colleagues in Beacon, New York City, and beyond.

Susan Sayre Batton
Ms. Batton is a respected arts professional with over twenty-five years of experience. Most recently, she was project director for Modern Views, a project of the Philip Johnson Glass House and the National Trust for Historic Preservation for which 100 architects, artists, and designers created work for a major publication entitled Modern Views Inspired by the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House and the Philip Johnson Glass House. The publication, which she edited, will be premiered in fall 2010, at auction events to be held in Chicago and New York, hosted by project underwriter Sotheby’s (all proceeds will go towards the preservation of Farnsworth House and Glass House). Previously, Ms. Batton held senior administrative positions at two museums. In 2008 she was a consultant to the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles, where she served as acting deputy director overseeing exhibitions, publications, and programs. From 2005 to 2008, she was deputy director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, focusing on staff development and strategic planning, and led the museum through a successful process of re-accreditation from the American Association of Museums. While there, she also organized the exhibition Won Ju Lim: In Many Things to Come (2006) and collaborated with curators on internationally touring exhibitions such as Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff, the catalogue of which was published by Yale University Press.

Prior to joining the Honolulu Academy, Ms. Batton was based in Los Angeles, where she was a consultant to museums on exhibition and conservation projects and had long-term contracts with institutions including the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From 1993 to 1995, she served as associate director of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies.

Ms. Batton’s teaching credits include lecturing at the Otis College of Art and Design (1994) and serving as studio manager and teaching assistant in the Visual Arts Program at Princeton University (1985–1990). Additionally, she was a member of the Hollywood Art and Design Advisory Panel, which commissioned artists for major public art installations.

Ms. Batton received a BFA in Studio Art from Denison University, undertook postgraduate studies at Princeton in the Visual Arts Program, and trained in book and paper conservation at the Princeton University Library.

Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, opened in May 2003 as the home for Dia Art Foundation’s distinguished collection of art from the 1960s to the present, comprising works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half century. These include Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.

Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, and easily accessible by train or car, the museum occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility that Dia renovated with artist Robert Irwin and architect OpenOffice. Dia:Beacon’s expansive galleries comprise 240,000 square feet of exhibition space illuminated by natural light. In addition to its collection, the museum presents temporary exhibitions and diverse public and education programs.

A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for enabling artists’ visions by initiating, supporting, and preserving extraordinary art projects. In addition to its program at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries (see above), Dia introduces commissions and projects by contemporary artists and related education programs at The Hispanic Society of America, in Upper Manhattan. (The Hispanic Society partnership provides an interim venue for Dia’s New York Citybased programs while Dia develops a new site for these initiatives in Manhattan.) Additionally, Dia maintains long-term, site-specific projects. These include Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) (1988), and Dan Flavin’s untitled (1996), in Manhattan; The Dan Flavin Art Institute, in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria’s Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), in Kassel, Germany; and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) and De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977), in the Western United States. For additional public information, visit 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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