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3 Beekman St
Beacon, New York
United States

jcappetta's picture


Dia:Beacon is a place for good, clean fun.

The art is almost exclusively minimalist and there’s nothing in the old box printing factory but architecture and art. So it’s as visually clean as a Norweigian design magazine. But Dia and the then governor of New York “persuaded” the factory’s former owner to donate the building in exchange for a million dollar environmental clean up, so the museum is also like a 240,000 square foot nature mop.

Just because it’s clean doesn’t mean it didn’t come with a tabloid’s worth of drama. The guy that founded Barnes & Noble basically funded the entire thing, including a bunch of the art, and anybody spending that kind of money is gonna get a little cranky. After the museum was finished, Dia’s director and the Barnes & Noble guy both quit the board in a kind of friend breakup. The donor was quoted as saying, “I have a vacuum in my life as far as art is concerned.” NO LENNY! ART IS WHAT’S SUPPOSED TO FIX THAT VACUUM!!

Wounds heal though and the art didn’t go away. Dia:Beacon is “fetishistically minimalist.” It’s lit entirely by skylights and windows, which means it gets dark at night *wink wink* and they lock the doors *cocked eyebrows* because they close the museum before sunset and kick everybody out *mood killer.* Despite the puritan hours you can get plenty of intimacy with all kinds of art giants. Agnes Martin did a piece specifically for the space and the art will never know about your affairs with other pieces because each artist has their own room. So you can two-time Richard Serra for Dan Flavin all day and no one will be the wiser.

One problem with the museum is—with its diffuse light, maple floors, cavernous space—you sometimes can’t tell what’s art and what is discarded industrial structure. Which is kind of the point of minimalist art, but also like, there are plenty of messy and abandoned warehouses that don’t charge you $15 at the door.

Still, it’s obsessively attractive and proposes a trade in which you give them some money and they both induce and then rescue you from an existential crisis; which isn’t a bad deal. This pastoral art-dreamland is a shorter train ride from Grand Central than your favorite barista’s apartment in Bushwick so it’s easy to get to and has way more trees.




  1. Foster, Hal. June 5, 2003. “At Dia Beacon.” London Review of Books Vol. 25 No. 11, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2018.
  2. Nocera, Joe. October 14, 2007. “The Patron Gets a Divorce.” The New York Times: New York Edition, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2018. azine/14dia-t.html
  3. “Visit: Dia:Beacon.” Dia Art Foundation, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2018.
  4. Vogel, Carol. April 23, 2003. “An Old Box Factory Is a Haven for New Art.” The New York Times, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2018. an-old-box-factory-is-a-haven-for-new-art.html

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Dia Beacon

Dia Beacon is the museum for the Dia Art Foundation's collection of art from the 1960s to the present. The museum, which opened in 2003, is situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York. Dia Beacon's facility, the Riggio Galleries, is a former Nabisco box-printing facility that was renovated by Dia with artist Robert Irwin and architects Alan Koch, Lyn Rice, Galia Solomonoff, and Linda Taalman, then of OpenOffice. Along with Dia's permanent collection, Dia Beacon also presents temporary exhibitions, as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly Gallery Talks, Merce Cunningham Dance Company Events, Community Free Days for neighboring counties, and an education program that serves area students at all levels. With 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2), it is one of the largest exhibition spaces in the country for modern and contemporary art.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Dia Beacon.