Two weekends ago, after visiting the Wendell Castle exhibit, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Dia: Beacon (in Beacon, New York.) Our convoy drove directly from the Castle exhibition to the museum and it was quite the transition. The Aldrich Museum is made up of several small galleries whereas Beacon is the most expansive museum I’ve ever experienced. Primarily, the museum focuses on minimalist installation works. The museum building used to be a factory complex, but through extensive renovation, the space was cleared out and the walls have been painted white. The space accentuates the presence of minimalist art such as that from Donald Judd, Richard Serra, and Michael Heizer. For me, Dan Flavin and Sol Lewitt were two of the most impressive artists on permanent view at Dia.
Flavin uses light in ways that have been a large inspiration to my work. I have spent many hours reading through his retrospective and looking into different works from throughout his career. The piece, untitled, 1970, was installed in a dedicated corner of the museum. It beckons the viewer to interact and view the work from different perspectives. What I find most interesting about this piece is the atmosphere it creates. When we arrived at the museum the sun had begun to set on the side of the building opposite the Flavins. This created a dim afternoon light made this piece appear peaceful and immersive. Humans’ interaction with light continues to fascinate me and being in the presence of Dan Flavin’s work has inspired me to keep investigating my intrest with light as a medium.
Prior to this trip, I had never seen a sol Lewitt piece in person, but seeing the collection of wall drawings at Dia was more that I could have asked for. Their simplicity and complexity perpetually frozen in limbo. I loved getting to interact with the different patterns on each wall in the gallery. and how each one emitted a different aura. The way that Lewitt can control and apply lines is a sight of mastery. Additional to the aesthetic value of the work, the process and thought that goes in to planning each drawing is extremely interesting. To me, Sol Lewitt is an amazing artist and designer and his work continues to come to mind as I investigate different linear pattens and texture in wood.
I would strongly recommend anyone with an interest in contemporary art, three dimensional design, interior design, or minimalism to visit Dia Beacon. It is a fantastic gallery with enough content for a full day spent wandering the galleries. Time is definitely key when viewing the gallery. Most of the installations really demand dedicated time to be fully experienced. I would love to go back to Dia sometime soon (maybe when it is not 20 degrees outside) and spend a whole day re-experiencing some of the greatest artistic works of the twentieth century.