Dia Art Foundation Inaugurates Permanent Waterfront Artwork by George Trakas

Trakas’s Beacon Point project provides public access to the Hudson River waterfront in Beacon, NY

Beacon, NY—On October 27, 2007, George Trakas’s Beacon Point, 2007, a permanent public artwork on the Hudson River waterfront will be inaugurated in Beacon, New York. Initiated in 1999 by Dia Art Foundation, this project was realized in collaboration with Scenic Hudson and Minetta Brook. Situated on Scenic Hudson’s 25-acre Long Dock peninsula on the Hudson River waterfront adjacent to Dia:Beacon, Trakas’s project makes accessible this beautiful waterfront to local residents and visitors. The artwork includes a terraced angling deck, a new boardwalk, and a restored bulkhead and southern shoreline.

When planning the transformation of the former Nabisco printing factory into a museum dedicated to its collection of art from the 1960s to the present, Dia recognized the importance of access to the Hudson River waterfront. In 1999, Dia and Scenic Hudson engaged George Trakas to evaluate opportunities for improved public access to the river along the City of Beacon shoreline. Given his extensive experience collaborating with architects, engineers, and contractors to realize public environments that integrate sculpture, design, and architecture, George Trakas was an ideal choice for this initiative.

Dia’s efforts dovetailed with the plans of Scenic Hudson, the largest environmental group focusing on the Hudson River. Under the organizational and administrative expertise of public art organization Minetta Brook, George Trakas worked over the next several years to develop his Beacon Point project. Trakas and Minetta Brook collaborated closely with Scenic Hudson to integrate the artwork within the environmental design for the peninsula.

In 2001, Beacon Point underwent an extensive clean-up that included selective tree pruning and clearing of excessive brush, followed by the construction of Trakas’s terraced deck and boardwalk. Designed as a series of gradual cascading steps which recall the forms of undulating waves, it provides easy access to the water for visitors. Trakas’s steel and wood deck provides a place for visitors to relax and enjoy the view of the water and the town of Newburg across the Hudson River, and for such leisure pursuits as fishing.

With the construction of Trakas’s Beacon Point complete, Scenic Hudson will now begin landscaping the site. The group, which has been protecting Beacon’s natural resources for a decade, will ultimately create a 16-acre park there. Scenic Hudson has an agreement with developer Foss Group Beacon, who will create a model “green” and sustainable hotel/conference center on the parcel.

Inauguration Details
Members of the press are invited to attend a private inauguration event for George Trakas’s Beacon Point from 4—6pm on Saturday, October 27, at Long Dock, adjacent to the Beacon train station. To RSVP and for directions, please contact Ashley Tickle, Public Affairs Associate, Dia Art Foundation, 212.293.5518 or atickle@diaart.org.

George Trakas’s Beacon Point is made possible by the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Minetta Brook, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Department of State, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and Scenic Hudson, with contributions from generous individuals Lee Balter in memory of Anita Hart Balter, and Denise and Andrew Saul. The Cleaver Company and Denise and Andrew Saul additionally contributed to the inauguration event.

George Trakas
Born in 1944 in Quebec, Canada, George Trakas came to New York City in 1963. Trakas is among the leading artists of his generation working in the landscape. Widely acclaimed for numerous projects in North America and Western Europe over the past thirty years, Trakas’s installations typically incorporate a functional response to a particular site or environment. Some of Trakas’s works include Berth Haven (1983) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle, Washington, and Isle of View (1985) at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which are constructions of minimal forms that emphasize the natural resources of the site. He was recently commissioned by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program to create a major work titled Shoreline Nature Walkway for the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Brooklyn, making accessible to the public approximately 1,000 feet of shoreline along Newtown and Whale Creeks. In much of his work, the artist recycles local materials and incorporates them into the finished site, providing a strong sense of the character of the original place.

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 and opened to the public in 2003.

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 temporary exhibitions as well as public programs designed to complement the works on view, 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.

Minetta Brook
Minetta Brook is a non-profit arts organization that presents public art projects, exhibitions, and publications designed to strengthen the relationship between contemporary artists and communities internationally. Founded by Diane Shamash in 1995, Minetta Brook has been a lead presenter of projects on the lower Manhattan waterfront from Battery Park City to Houston Street since 2000. Minetta Brook’s programs have been developed in partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art, Dia Art Foundation, the Friends of the High Line, Hudson River Park Trust, and over 30 cultural and community organizations internationally.

Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and public resource. A crusader for the valley since 1963, Scenic Hudson is credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with 20,000 ardent supporters, it is the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Its team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy, and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley's inspiring beauty and natural resources.

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