Dia Art Foundation Acquires a Major Body of Work by Robert Morris

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dia Art Foundation Acquires a Major Body of Work by Robert Morris

A New Installation to Open at Dia:Beacon on October 8, 2016

New York – Dia Art Foundation announced today that it will acquire eight works by Robert Morris. This new acquisition includes a full installation of the Minimalist ensemble that Morris created in 1962–64 for an exhibition at the Green Gallery, New York, as well as one of the artist’s works of Land art.

To celebrate this important acquisition, Dia will present a new installation of Morris’s art at Dia:Beacon, which will open to the public on October 8, 2016. James Meyer, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Dia Art Foundation, will organize the new Morris gallery at Dia:Beacon with Alexis Lowry, Associate Curator at Dia Art Foundation.

“The acquisition of this group of works strengthens and broadens Dia’s collection and is a vital addition to our holdings of Minimal art,” said Jessica Morgan, Director of Dia Art Foundation. “Morris has been absent from our collection. We are delighted that visitors can now experience the innovations of Morris alongside his contemporaries Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt. We are deeply grateful to Morris for his support of this acquisition.”

The ensemble of six painted plywood works from the Green Gallery, as well as a seventh object originally intended for that exhibition, will be fabricated under Morris’s supervision specifically for Dia. They include Untitled (Cloud) (1962) and Untitled (Boiler), Untitled (Corner Beam), Untitled (Corner Piece), Untitled (Floor Beam), Untitled (Table), and Untitled (Wall-Floor Slab) (all 1964).

In the late 1960s Morris championed the turn from rigid geometry to the dispersed antiformalism of Postminimal art through his increasingly unstructured installations of soft and unbound materials. Dia will also acquire Untitled (Dirt) (1968), a critical example of Morris’s work during this phase. Untitled (Dirt) consists of a mass of earth, peat, oil, and debris poured directly onto the gallery floor. It was originally shown in the inaugural survey of Land art, Earth Works, at the Dwan Gallery in New York in October 1968, and it was produced at the same moment that Walter De Maria realized his first Earth Room at Heiner Friedrich’s gallery in Munich. With the acquisition of Untitled (Dirt), Dia will now maintain two iconic works of Land art made specifically for an interior space.

In addition to the Green Gallery ensemble and Untitled (Dirt), Dia will present an untitled cut-felt piece on long-term loan from the artist. The display at Dia:Beacon will trace Morris’s formal evolution throughout the 1960s, as well as the transition between Minimal, Postminimal, and Land art practices more broadly.

“The acquisition of this seminal group of works will bring greater depth to Dia’s remarkable collection of Minimalist and Postminimalist practice,” said Meyer. “The Green Gallery installation was a watershed of 1960s Minimalism. This will be the only complete set of these works available to viewers. Installing this ensemble will introduce the bodily scale of historical Minimalism to the grand, millennial spaces of Dia:Beacon. The cut-felt piece will serve as an ‘antiformal’ work that breaks down the geometric shapes of the Minimal objects, bridging the space between the wall and floor occupied by the messy, unruly Untitled (Dirt)—a work that appears radical to viewers almost fifty years after Morris completed it. Together these works establish Morris’s central role in the development of postwar sculpture in the United States.”

Dia Art Foundation 
Founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is committed to initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving extraordinary art projects. Dia:Beacon opened in May 2003 in Beacon, New York. Dia also maintains several long-term sites, including 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, which was inaugurated at Documenta 7 in 1982) and Dan Flavin’s untitled (1996), all of which are located in New York City; the Dan Flavin Art Institute (established in 1983) in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico; Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in Great Salt Lake, Utah; and De Maria's The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany. 

Dia currently presents temporary exhibitions, performances, lectures, and readings on West 22nd Street in New York City. 

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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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