Happy Birthday Dia: Beacon! (And Other Reasons to Head Beacon-Ward)

Ripo

This past weekend there were more than a few reasons for the art crowd to leave the city and head up the Hudson River to a small town called Beacon, NY. If this name sounds familiar to you it’s more than likely thanks to the fact that for the past five years it’s been home to Dia:Beacon, the 240,000 (no I didn’t mistakenly add in zeroes) square foot exhibition space that holds and preserves enormous and ambitious works by some of the most significant artists since the 1960s and ‘70s. This past weekend they celebrated their fifth anniversary with a small Sunday morning brunch in one of their outdoor gardens as well as introducing a few new works into the museum by Tacita Dean, Imi Knoebel, Helen Mirra and a performance by Merce Cunningham. Thankfully, the brunch (and subsequently my whole visit through the museum) was fueled by rosemary vodka Bloody Marys, a welcome treat after a more than slightly hung-over morning greeted me when I woke up.

After arriving at the museum, I immediately hit up the brunch. Only about 25 or so people were in attendance and the rest of the museum was entirely empty. I guess a rainy Sunday morning doesn’t exactly get people flocking an hour and a half out of the city to Beacon. But it made for a nice quiet museum visit. If you haven’t been up here yet you’re missing some of the most monumental works in existence by artists like Richard Serra, Dan Flavin, Sol Lewitt, Michael Heizer and plenty more. Andy Warhol has his own room with over 50 of his large "Shadow" paintings surrounding you as you walk in. In the photo above you can see an overly exerted viewer sound asleep on the couch in the middle of the room.

The other reason I spent the weekend in Beacon was to leave my own mark on the town at probably the most animated art show this quiet town has ever seen. My good friends from Thundercut (ever see the “clothing” stickers stuck onto the guys on the crosswalk signs?) opened the Open Space Gallery last year and busted their asses to organize the Electric Windows show this past weekend where 24 artists including myself (Ripo), Lady Pink, Michael de Feo, Ron English, Depoe, UPSO, You Are Beautiful, Mr. Kiji and numerous others, painted on banners that were then installed into the windows of an old Electric Blanket factory. The works are staying up for a year, so between Dia and the Electric Windows you gotta get on up to Beacon.

Thanks to Mr. Kiji for the photos.

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