1.) The Serras get the headlines, the Fred Sandbacks steal the show. Dia has nearly a dozen. But: Sandbacks bask in the space and light of Dia’s space. Put them in crowded galleries with other art and standard lighting and they go flat, such as at MoMA. Sandback deserves a major retrospective… but there aren’t many spaces in which the work can look as good as it looks in Beacon.
2.) The only two places in America that are whiter and more male than the National Gallery of Art’s American galleries are Tom Tancredo’s imagination and Dia Beacon. There is a temporary Zoe Leonard exhibition on view, an inexplicable Antoni Tapies mini-show (a Dia curator has an appointment at the Reina Sofia…) and Louise Bourgeois is in the attic. As I Tweeted on Friday: Anne Truitt belongs in Beacon.
2a.) I’m tired of the posturing, posing, ostentatious, excessive, unnecessary Dia colon. I have exorcised it from this post.
3.) Dia’s presentation of Dan Flavin looks a little stale. I’ve never liked those early, white Flavins as much as the later, colorful works. Maybe that’s it.
4.) Richard Serra’s torqued ellipses are one of my favorite art experiences of the last half century. Look carefully and you can see much of the history of abstract painting in their surfaces: Larry Poons’ dots, Gerhard Richter’s shmears, Cy Twombly’s scribbles and so on.
5.) New York-based critics who complain and bitch and moan and complain that Dia is not in New York City are being narrow and small. Beacon is less than 90 minutes away from Manhattan by train. The space and light in Beacon enables one of the most beautiful, thoughtful collection installations in America. Dia being in Beacon is good for the art, good for the artists (see Sandback, Fred) and it’s good for us because it sows us the work to best advantage. Would it be nice if there was a Dia exhibition space somewhere in New York City or in New Jersey? Sure. Lots of things would be nice. But is it a big deal? No.