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*Joseph Beuys, 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), inaugurated at Documenta in 1982. © Joseph Beuys/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Courtesy of Dia Art Foundation, New York.

Dia Chelsea to Reopen in April Following $20 Million Expansion

Dia Chelsea is expected to open in April following a $20 million renovation and expansion that connected its three neighboring buildings on West Twenty-Second Street. Admission, as at Dia’s four other New York City locations, will be permanently free.

The renovation and redesign of the buildings were done under the auspices of the Architecture Research Offices, and unites the structures, comprising 32,500 square feet of space, behind a single façade. Dia also extended Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), an iteration of a work first made in 1982 that lines the street on which Dia Chelsea is situated, increasing the number of paired basalt columns and living oak trees that make up the work to thirty-eight.

The Chelsea remodeling is part of a broader $90 million expansion effort that will additionally encompass Dia SoHo, a brand-new 2,500-square-foot Wooster Street exhibition space; the restoration of two Walter De Maria installations, The Broken Kilometer, 1979, and The New York Earth Room, 1977; and the expansion and renovation of the lower level and grounds of Dia Beacon, north of New York City.

Dia Chelsea will host two commissions by Lucy Raven on its reopening, which was initially planned for September 2020 but was delayed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Raven, whose work examines the violence of development in the American West, will present a new film, Ready Mix, 2020, which will be projected on a 36-foot-wide curved screen meant to evoke a drive-in theater of the type that populated the country between World War II and the sexual revolution of the 1960s; also on view will be a light work from her series “Casters,” 2016–, which evokes a tension meant to comment on that between the land and those seeking to alter and build upon it.

Speaking to the New York Times, Dia director Jessica Morgan connected Raven’s work to that of Dia, which was a pioneer in repurposing—rather than destroying and building over—disused industrial spaces, which it uses to host monumental Land art works not easily housed elsewhere. “Lucy’s interested in what’s been happening in Chelsea,” said Morgan, referring to the wave of new construction taking place there. “This is for us a fascinating continuation of some of the problematic questions around Land art that we face today.”

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