Dia:Beacon Riggio Galleries, a Museum for Dia's Collection, Celebrates Successful First Year in Hudson Valley

Dia marks first anniversary with special exhibition and new public programs

New York, NY- In May 2004, Dia Art Foundation celebrates the first anniversary of Dia:Beacon Riggio Galleries, a museum for Dia's collection of major artworks from the 1960s through the present. During its first year in New York's Hudson Valley, the acclaimed museum has received over 140,000 visitors, and has initiated a series of public and educational programs.

Inaugurating a temporary exhibition program at Dia:Beacon, and marking the museum's first anniversary, Dia presents an exhibition of early works by American artist Agnes Martin. On view at Dia:Beacon beginning Sunday, May 16, 2004, "…going forward into unknown territory…" shows works from the decade 1957-67, when Martin lived and worked in New York City, and highlights a little-known group of paintings from 1957-60. Seldom exhibited, these paintings, which were recently donated to Dia, are contextualized with signature works from the 1960s. The special exhibition will be on view through April 18, 2005.

In addition to this presentation, Dia will launch new public programs, as well as expand existing initiatives.

Gallery Talks at Dia:Beacon
Beginning in May 2004, Dia will present a series of free Gallery Talks, to take place on a monthly schedule at Dia:Beacon. Focused on the work of the artists in Dia's collection and the artworks on view at the museum, the one-hour presentations will be given by curators, art historians, and writers, and will take place in Dia:Beacon's galleries on the last Saturday of each month throughout the year. Gallery Talks are free with admission and reservations are required.

Gallery Talks at Dia:Beacon begin on Saturday, May 29, with a presentation by Rhea Anastas, a member of the faculty at the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies who will speak on the work of Robert Smithson. Patricia Phillips, a professor at SUNY New Paltz, will discuss Robert Irwin's oeuvre in the context of Dia:Beacon on Saturday, June 26. Other Gallery Talks will include a discussion led by Dia curator Lynne Cooke in conjunction with the Agnes Martin exhibition "…going forward into unknown territory…," as well as a presentation on Louise Bourgeois by Susan Aberth, Assistant Professor of Art History, Bard College.

For more information and tickets, the public should call 845.440.0100 extension 44 or visit www.diaart.org.

Dia:Beacon Arts Education Program
Since 2001, Dia has worked with the Beacon City School District to create an in-depth Arts Education Program (AEP), utilizing Dia's collection to offer students art experiences that are not typically part of their curriculum. This initiative began with a course taught at Beacon High School in the 2001-02 school year, and has since expanded to encompass all levels of education, partnerships with local cultural and educational organizations, a series of professional development workshops, and the implementation of an education resource website. The work of students involved in Dia's AEP during the 2003-04 school year will be celebrated with several upcoming exhibitions and events. From June 12 to June 19, artworks focusing on a "Window and the Mirror" theme, created by Beacon City second graders in response to their visits to Dia:Beacon, will be presented at the Howland Cultural Center, an exhibition space and community cultural resource. An opening reception for the student exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 12, at 3 pm at the Center, which is located at 477 Main Street, Beacon, NY. In May, students from Beacon's Rombout Middle School who have participated in the AEP will take their families on personal tours of Dia:Beacon. The Middle School program focuses on language and visual arts, joining writing and personal expression with visits to the museum.

As part of the AEP, students from Beacon High School have worked collaboratively to conceive, shoot, and produce a video in response to Dia's collection. The ten-minute video reflects the students' physical experiences of the works on view, incorporating a nonnarrative format as well as a soundtrack of voices and ambient sounds recorded in the galleries. A public screening of the video will take place at 5 pm on Friday, May 21 at Beacon High School, 101 Matteawan Road, Beacon, NY. Through a second High School program, which emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach, visiting artists partner with Literature and Biology teachers to create literal and metaphorical environments inspired by the art on view at Dia:Beacon. The resulting projects from this year's program will be exhibited at the Beacon City High School gallery, with a public opening on Thursday, May 27 from 5-7pm, 101 Matteawan Road, Beacon, NY.

In addition to working with the Beacon City elementary, middle, and high schools, Dia is partnering with Poughkeepsie-based arts organization Mill Street Loft; Vassar and Bard Colleges; and the State University of New York at New Paltz on educational initiatives. In addition, Dia offers a series of professional development sessions designed for arts educators and is developing a web-based education resource that will provide teachers with in-class tools to foster discussion on the artworks in Dia's collection.

Community Free Days
For Dia's series of quarterly Community Free Days, residents of neighboring counties are invited to visit Dia:Beacon free of charge on selected Saturdays throughout the year. The dates are chosen to alternate year-to-year, offering residents of each county an opportunity to experience the range of seasons at the museum. In its second year, the 2004-05 Community Free Days are scheduled as follows: August 14, 2004 (Orange County); November 13, 2004 (Putnam County); February 12, 2005 (Dutchess County); and April 9, 2005 (Ulster County). The dates coincide with "Second Saturday Beacon," a monthly city-wide arts and culture open house.

Environmental Improvements Surrounding Dia:Beacon
The grounds surrounding Dia:Beacon continually evolve with the seasons as part of a design created as an essential element of the facility's master plan by artist Robert Irwin. This spring existing plantings, which include flowering hawthorn, crab apple, and cherry trees, are augmented by crimson pygmy barberry, iceberg rose bushes, tall pancium grass, and assorted spirea shrubs.

In addition to the expanded landscaping, the sidewalk leading from the Beacon Metro North Rail Station to the museum, having undergone a major capital reconstruction, will provide improved access to Dia:Beacon. As part of this project, views from the walkway overlooking the Hudson River have been dramatically enhanced through the relocation of the pedestrian sidewalk, and the burial of power lines. Additionally, Dutchess County provides a shuttle bus service on weekends from the train station to the museum and to Main Street. The service runs every hour from 1pm to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and tickets are $2. For schedule information call 845.485.4690 or visit www.dutchessny.gov/loop.htm.

Dia:Beacon Riggio Galleries
Dia:Beacon, Dia Art Foundation's new museum, 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 300,000-square-foot 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 presents a vast range of 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, Hanne Darboven, 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.

Dia Art Foundation
Dia Art Foundation was founded in 1974. A nonprofit institution, Dia plays a vital role among visual arts organizations nationally and internationally by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects, and by serving as a locus for interdisciplinary art and criticism. Dia presents its permanent collection at Dia:Beacon Riggio Galleries, in Beacon, New York; exhibitions and public programming at Dia:Chelsea, in New York City (currently closed for renovations); and long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and on Long Island.

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