Sunday, July 24, 2011

An Artsy Sunday Afternoon at the Dia:Beacon

I love Manhattan but once in a while I feel cabin fever-ish and need to get out of the city. Today was one of those days. The temperature was still in the high 80s so the idea of doing anything outdoorsy was quickly scrapped.

When I was little my father would always take us to the major museums in whichever city we were visiting. As a result of this practice I love museums and make it a point to visit a few whenever I am in a new and unfamiliar city.

Many years ago I went to see the Dia:Beacon with some friends and so I decided it would be fun to revisit it and expose seven month-old baby Z to some contemporary art. I kid- it was because the museum is super stroller-friendly and that has become a key feature in determining where all we can go together as a family!

The Dia:Beacon is a museum located along the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, NY, a 90-minute drive from New York city. It was once a box-printing facility and since its conversion houses a wildly interesting contemporary art collection from the 1960s to now.

The museum has a strict 'no photographs' policy with regards to the exhibits and so out of fear of being yelled at in public by the museum guards (I always chuckle when I see it happening to other people!) I did not take any of my own pictures. I do want  to show some not-to-be-missed highlights and so I am linking back to the museum's website. I am not an art critic so there are no deep explanations on what each piece means. I just liked them so I have listed them!


1. John Chamberlain's scrap metal sculpture installation.


2. Dan Flavin's fluorescent light installations:


3. Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses steel sculpture:
This one is really interesting. You can actually walk inside the sculpture where you see the opening. In some cases there's a sculpture within the sculpture so it's a bizarre, almost vertigo-like feeling as you are walking inside, the varying tilts throwing you off-balance a little.


4. My Favorite: Louise Bourgeois' sculpture installation
The first time I saw her work I found it odd, bizarre and disturbing. But when art evokes that sort of reaction in me it means that I am intrigued. And intrigue, for me, equates with liking it.


Even if this type of art does not rock your boat, the space is very cool and worth checking out. I always find it fascinating how these former industrial spaces get converted into museums. The expansive space really showcases all these exhibits, a lot of which are sculptural installations that would not look quite so grand in a small Manhattan gallery.

So that was my Sunday.

Question: Do you like museums? Which is your favorite? If museums are not your thing, what did you do together as a family on trips?