Beacon, NY, June 22, 2023 – Dia Art Foundation presents the exhibition Rita McBride: Momentum, a presentation of sculptural installations by Rita McBride in the central galleries of Dia Beacon, opening July 1, 2023.
Since the mid-1980s, McBride has developed a conceptual, cross-disciplinary, intermedia, and feminist approach to art making that holds collaboration at its center. She frequently works with architects, engineers, physicists, and other artists to produce objects, installations, videos, publications, and public artworks that simultaneously explore the relationships involved in their production and invite forms of participatory exchange.
This exhibition focuses on McBride’s long-standing interest in architecture, design, and sculpture as they relate to the public sphere in forms such as seating structures, movement-guiding systems, and commercial awnings. McBride’s monumental Arena (1997)—a lightweight, modular structure in the form of a tribune that is activated by the presence of audiences and performers alike—is at the core of the presentation. Alongside Arena are freestanding and wall-mounted artworks from the last two decades that reflect McBride’s interest in the ways public infrastructures shape acts of looking.
“Arena exemplifies McBride’s collaborative practice. Commissioned by the museum now known as Kunstinstituut Melly in 1997, the work was produced in dialogue with architects and engineers, and it harnesses the creative design solutions generated through these conversations,” said Jessica Morgan, Dia’s Nathalie de Gunzburg Director. “I am thrilled to expand our relationship with McBride’s work through this acquisition and presentation.”
Dia acquired Arena in 2021. As part of the process, the artist has transitioned the original digital files and conceptual parameters, together with an instructional poster, into a copyleft license to be stewarded by Dia. Once the exhibition opens, the digital files, as well as the instructional poster designed by David Reinfurt, will be freely available to the public in perpetuity. The Arena copyleft materials may be accessed by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dia curator Alexis Lowry said, “The new status of Arena is emblematic of McBride’s commitment to the democratic principles of exchange, as well as her interest in continuing to push the boundaries of institutional engagement. McBride’s rigorous practices invite us to develop new modes of stewardship and responsibility within our framework as a collecting institution.”
McBride explained that Arena is “an ongoing investigation into the ways public institutional space, art, and audiences interact.” Arena becomes an arena when animated by people in an ongoing and open process that is punctuated by choreographed engagements. For the duration of the presentation at Dia Beacon, an expanding body of artists, performers, writers, musicians, and dancers will activate physical and virtual spaces as part of a series of engagements with Arena. The series, collectively called Momentum, is initiated by McBride with experimental performance collective discoteca flaming star (founded by Cristina Gómez Barrio and Wolfgang Mayer) and choreographer Alexandra Waierstall. Momentum marks the first presentation of Waierstall’s work in the United States, and is live at Dia Beacon, October 13–15, 2023, and other dates in 2024.
In keeping with Dia’s commitment to supporting artists over time, this exhibition builds on the recent presentation of McBride’s site-responsive Particulates (2017) at Dia Chelsea from 2017 to 2018. Particulates was acquired by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in 2019, and is currently presented as the inaugural exhibition in that museum’s newly renovated bank gallery.
Rita McBride: Momentum is organized by Alexis Lowry, curator, with Emily Markert, curatorial assistant.
All exhibitions at Dia are made possible by the Economou Exhibition Fund.
Rita McBride: Momentum is made possible by major support from Brenda R. Potter. Significant support provided by Erika Glazer, and additional support by Graham Steele and Ulysses de Santi.
About Rita McBride
Rita McBride was born in Des Moines in 1960. She currently lives and works in Düsseldorf and Los Alamos, California. She received a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. In 1988, she began exploring architectural and sculptural form in works ranging from small-scale objects to public commissions. Her major public commissions include Obelisk of Tutankhamun, Cologne (2017); Bells and Whistles, the New School, New York (2014); and Mae West, Munich (2011). Major presentations include Rita McBride: Particulates, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2023); National Chain 2020/Social Practices (in collaboration with Alexandra Waierstall and Fontys Dance Academy), Museum De Pont, Tilburg, the Netherlands (2021); Particulates, Dia Chelsea, New York (2017–18); Rita McBride: Explorer, Wiels Centre d'Art Contemporain, Brussels (2017–18); Rita McBride: Gesellschaft, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2015–16); and Rita McBride: Public Tilt, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2014–15). In 2001, she initiated a series of genre-bending publications that often use anonymous, collective writing structures. In 2018, she also initiated Particulates, an anthology of science fiction edited by Nalo Hopkinson that accompanied her exhibition Particulates at Dia Chelsea. McBride’s first project with Dia was a performative lecture on the work of Rosemarie Trockel as part of the 2003 Artists on Artists series.
About Dia Art Foundation
Taking its name from the Greek word meaning “through,” Dia was established in 1974 with the mission to serve as a conduit for artists to realize ambitious new projects, unmediated by overt interpretation and uncurbed by the limitations of more traditional museums and galleries. Dia’s programming fosters contemplative and sustained consideration of a single artist’s body of work and its collection is distinguished by the deep and long-standing relationships that the nonprofit has cultivated with artists whose work came to prominence particularly in the 1960s and ’70s.
In addition to Dia Beacon, Dia Bridgehampton, and Dia Chelsea, Dia maintains and operates a constellation of commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on Land art, nationally and internationally. These include:
- Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), and Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks, inaugurated in 1982 and ongoing), all located in New York City
- De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977), in western New Mexico
- Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), in the Great Salt Lake, Utah
- Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973–76), in the Great Basin Desert, Utah
- De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), in Kassel, Germany
- Cameron Rowland’s Depreciation (2018)
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