Located one hour and a half from the busiest place in the United States, hop on a train at Grand Central Station and take yourself to Dia: Beacon.
The art engagement process starts with the train ride. It starts with the effort to relocate, transport one’s body, detach from the overwhelming nature of New York City and arrive on the other side. A slow trajectory that strips the mind and undresses the senses.
Think of it like this: you find yourself in the heart of the city, walking fast, dodging people, going up and down the subway stairs, experiencing different sounds and smells. Then, you get on the train, take your heavy coat off, sit back and relax your body. As you look out the window, the landscape starts to change. The city shrinks, little by little, until you can’t see it anymore. The trees grow taller, the sky encompasses the view– the same sky you haven’t seen in days. Nature unfolds before your eyes and before you realize, you have arrived in Beacon, New York. A five to ten minute walk from the train will take you there and be prepared to experience something entirely different from any other art institution.
Dia was founded in 1974 in an effort to help artists turn their highly ambitious work into reality, regardless of amplitude or scale. The Dia Art Foundation opened Dia:Beacon in 2003 in a space that at one time was a box printing factory for Nabisco. The permanent collection includes the work of Richard Serra, Walter De Maria, Louise Bourgeois, Michael Heizer, Robert Morris, Donald Judd and many others.
The place feels different. Something in the atmosphere surrounding those monumental pieces, it seems like you’re walking through a sanctuary. A serene energy floats around and the sense of scale is one of a kind. The movement of Richard Serra, the obsessiveness of Walter De Maria and the depth of Michael Heizer– the works don’t fight for our attention, rather they coexist in absolute equilibrium. It’s hard to place limitations when describing Dia:Beacon– a minimalist oasis? an avant-garde art foundation? a museum that holds the artworks from the 1960’s to the present? They are all right but simply not enough. It’s contradictory to constrain this place down to mere descriptions, because at Dia:Beacon it’s truly about the experience and the sensations.
The impact of the artwork becomes even more evident the moment you arrive back to the city. There’s a singular shift in perspective– from wide to narrow, from spacious to claustrophobic, from quiet to loud. To a certain extent, there’s a dialogue between the artwork at the foundation and the city itself, in which one compliments the another. Unthinkable dimensions, bold concepts and an array of emotions, the city definitely feels microscopic upon returning from Dia:Beacon.
This is just a glimpse.
More visitor info here.