Dia commissioned Isabel Lewis to realize her signature occasions over four consecutive weekends between Friday, June 24, and Sunday, July 17, 2016. Lewis’s occasions are hosted on Friday evenings at Dia:Chelsea in New York City and continue on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park located adjacent to Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York.
Lewis—who started her practice as a choreographer—has been investigating the role of artist as host since 2009. Guided by the expanded field of aesthetics, her occasions heighten the whole human sensorium while reorienting the body to its environment. Exploring modes of connection and attention, Lewis shapes a sensorial experience that responds to the energies of her guests. Her occasions investigate how the subtle introduction of a word, sound, movement, or scent can shift perception, redirect flow, and awaken the importance of being together.
The Friday evening occasions take place in a postindustrial building, where Lewis has designed an environment that integrates scent-scapes and wire-woven plant sculptures, composing a network of spaces in which guests can interact, explore, and relax. On these evenings, the oration and music take cues from Kizomba, a sensuous and slow partner dance that originated in Portuguese-speaking Africa.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the weekend continues with a Metro-North train ride along the Hudson River. Inspired by the serenity of the landscape, Lewis has composed a mixtape to accompany the journey. When the train arrives in Beacon, guests are guided to Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park, where Lewis's outdoor composition engages the local ecology. Visitors are welcome to join the artist for conversation and contemplation, and to engage in dancing, listening, or simply coexisting.
All of the occasions offer an open score, during which guests may freely enter, exit, and revisit.
Dia Art Foundation, MTA Arts & Design, Metro-North Railroad, and Isabel Lewis collaborated to make a digital mixtape composed by the artist that accompanies the commute from Grand Central Terminal to Beacon.
This program is supported in part by Dia’s Director’s Council and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.
Isabel Lewis is of Dominican and American origin and was raised in southwestern Florida. From 2004 to 2009 she lived in New York City and presented commissioned dance work at the Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Kitchen, Movement Research at Judson Church, New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Performance Space 122. In 2009 she moved to Berlin and began to explore a practice that negotiates different genres and contexts. Drawing from her background in choreography and literary criticism, Lewis uses the occasions to investigate both the role of the artist and the role of the host. Occasions have been presented by the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Frieze London, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Kunsthalle Basel, Liverpool Biennial, and Tanz Im August Berlin.