Renowned Dance Company brings new performances into the context of Dia’s collection

Aug 28, 2007

New York, NY—Dia Art Foundation is pleased to announce a collaboration with Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) entitled Beacon Events. Over the coming two years, MCDC will explore movement within the context of Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, the home for Dia’s renowned permanent collection of works from the 1960’s to the present. MCDC will present eight week-long, seasonal residencies and performances rooted in modernist dance, music, and visual arts. Merce Cunningham will choreograph eight of his signature, site-specific Events within the galleries at Dia:Beacon. Simultaneously, new musical scores will be created for public performances that will take place at the end of each residency week. In signature Cunningham style, public performances will be the first and only time the musicians and dancers come together. Additionally in January 2008 Dia:Beacon will host a conversation between Merce Cunningham and Dia Art Foundation curator Lynne Cooke.

The first performance in MCDC’s Beacon Events series will be held September 30, 2007 at 3pm in the gallery devoted to Andy Warhol’s Shadows paintings. Merce Cunningham has been creating site-specific works since 1964, and the galleries at Dia:Beacon offer a unique environment for Cunningham’s compositions. Many of the artists in Dia’s collection were friends, peers, and former collaborators of Cunningham’s, and each artist’s installation provides a different and challenging site for new work. Cunningham’s compositions will be presented seasonally and will necessarily adapt to the change of seasons and variations of light offered by Dia:Beacon’s 34,000-plus square feet of skylights.

Additionally, Dia and MCDC will produce a book documenting each of the performances at Dia:Beacon, projected for publication in 2009.

In conjunction with MCDC’s inaugural residency at Dia:Beacon, MCDC will partner with Dia’s education program to provide a movement-based tour of various artworks in the museum. Participants will create their own dance “events” based on their observations. Children age 6 and above are encouraged to attend and must be accompanied by an adult. Sunday, September 30, 2007, at 12pm, free with museum admission, reservations are suggested, (845) 440-0100 x 33.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Hudson Valley Project is made possible by Melissa and Robert Soros, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and with major support from The Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors: New York State Music Fund.

Merce Cunningham and MCDC
Merce Cunningham, born in Centralia, Washington, received his first formal dance and theater training at the Cornish School (now Cornish College of the Arts) in Seattle. From 1939 to 1945, he was a soloist in the company of Martha Graham. He presented his first New York solo concert with John Cage in April 1944. Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) was formed at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1953. The group included Carolyn Brown, Viola Farber, Paul Taylor, and Remy Charlip. John Cage was music director and David Tudor the company musician; MCDC has commissioned scores from more contemporary composers than any other organization. Visual artists who have contributed designs for works by Cunningham include Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein. Cunningham has choreographed over 180 works for his company. The works and methods of Merce Cunningham and the renowned artists with whom he has worked are the focus of a current exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts called “Invention: Merce Cunningham & Collaborators,” on view until October 13, 2007. For additional information, visit

Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries
Dia:Beacon, Dia Art Foundation’s museum in the Hudson Valley, presents a distinguished collection of contemporary 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, which 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. The museum houses 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.

Programming at the museum includes a series of year-long temporary exhibitions as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly gallery talks, music performances by St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Community Free Days for neighboring counties and an education program that serves area students at all education levels.

Dia:Beacon is easily reachable via Metro-North Railroad. The Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of the museum. Trains depart hourly from Grand Central Terminal in New York City. For schedule and fare information, please visit the MTA’s website at The museum is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia’s website at Admission is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia members and children under 12. Current summer hours are 11 am to 6 pm, Thursday–Monday, through October 16, 2006. Winter hours are 11 am to 4 pm, Friday through Monday. The public information line for the museum is (845) 400-0100.

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 New York’s Hudson Valley. Since opening in spring 2003, Dia:Beacon has received more than 350,000 visitors. Beginning in the fall of 2007, Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists at The Hispanic Society of America while it seeks a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, the foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton on Long Island. For additional public information, visit

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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