© Renate Rohlfing. All rights reserved.

Dia: Beacon

Dia:Beacon is a museum housed in a former Nabisco box-making factory in the town of Beacon, New York. Strangely, this is conducive to the exhibition and viewing of contemporary art. The high glass-paneled ceiling, wood floors, and open space keeps each room feeling spacious. The sheer scale of some works can overwhelm museums. In Dia:Beacon each room is dedicated to one exhibition. The viewer never feels overwhelmed, and can easily switch focus on the artist's series as a whole or singular pieces within that series. Longleash had the opportunity to work with Reiko Füting on his piece refraction/palimpsest, which is inspired by Andy Warhol's "Shadows". This series of 50 paintings directly next to each other is found at Dia:Beacon, and the generous layout of the museum proved exceptionally helpful particularly for this exhibition. Though the name of his series seems dark, each painting is singularly vibrant in color and brush stroke, a trait often found in Warhol's works. With the paintings placed next to each other, it almost looks like a film strip, with great similarities and great differences within each painting. Reiko's interest in developing vibrancy of sound and timbre throughout refractions coincides with Warhol's visual techniques. The motives and phrases found within each instrument react differently in every measure. The careful compositional execution of how these structures relate to each other aurally and visually is a testament to the commitment of the artist, providing his audience with a new discovery each time we experience their work. I have lived in New York for 8 years, and was shocked that I hadn't heard about Dia:Beacon before Reiko Füting told Longleash about it.  It is worth the trip from Manhattan, and I would happily go often.  Each room is carefully thought out, and has a specific viewing trajectory. Dia:Beacon can house huge installations, and one can easily view the 3D pieces closely and further away.  I experienced beach glass piles and the Spiral Jetty of Robert Smithson, illusionary rooms made of yarn by Fred Sandback, and seemingly infinite geometric caves by Michael Heizer, and was always excited for what the next room would bring. My favorite exhibition was the works Alighiero e Boetti, an Italian artist who is known for his eccentricity.  He mailed 5400 pieces of mail to himself, from different cities, with different configurations of stamps.  The post offices in Italy must have gone insane. When I entered his viewing room, I immediately smiled.  So much color and imagination was apparent. He devoted a few years of his life to sketching already published covers of magazines that were popular throughout the world, showing the zeitgeist of each country. Dia:Beacon clarified some of the ideals of Longleash to me.  Here was a place that could show the individuality of each artist, while putting them in context without diminishing their importance.  Dia:Beacon is one of my favorite museums, and I look forward to seeing future exhibitions there.