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architecture

Anthony Vidler on Dia:Beacon

Left: Dia:Beacon, basement before renovation, 1999. Photo: Michael Govan. Right: Richard Serra, Torqued Ellipse II, 1996, and Double Torqued Ellipse, 1997. Installation view, Dia:Beacon, 2003. Photo: Florian Holzherr.


THE RECENTLY OPENED DIA:BEACON, its permanent collection installed in galleries inside a converted box factory, is by all accounts a major success. Despite the obvious gaps in the collection, tied to the vicissitudes of the last twenty years of collecting, critics have cited a number of factors contributing to the exhilarating effect of a visit: the appropriateness of the huge former printing sheds for art that demands a spacious setting, the ability for living artists to collaborate in the installation and in some cases provide new site-specific work, the elegant gardens designed by Robert Irwin, and the museum’s Hudson Valley location.

What has been only cursorily noted, however, is the role of the architecture in supporting and in some cases constructing this effect, a dynamic role that asks audiences to revisit the thinking behind Minimalist sculpture. Perhaps this omission is

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