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PRINT September 2003

SPACE OPERA: THE DIA IN BEACON

VASTNESS IS THE QUALITY THAT CHIEFLY DEFINES ITS CHARACTER: The white, daylight-filled interior of the new Dia facility at Beacon is so expansive that, at first, the very notion of “interior” hardly even seems to apply. To enter is to be transformed from visitor into rapt beholder, all agog in stunned silence and quasi-agoraphobic awe. It could be said that the name dia, a Greek word that translates as “through,” has, in a manner of speaking, become doubly allegorical: Originally devised to characterize the institution as a selfless agent for the ideals and ambitions of the art, it is also now an inadvertent figure for open space. Indeed, a thematics of space subtending a postwar narrative of the studio and the gallery is internal to the emergence of Dia and its apotheosis in upstate New York.

Beacon is a stunning accomplishment—and an unlikely one. In an era when the museum community

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