Un dia at Dia Beacon (hardy har har)

Finally got around to checking out the Dia Arts Center, a conceptual art museum in an old box printing factory, in Beacon, New York, and took my folks and Baby. When we got up there, I realized, “Oh yeah, I hate conceptual art.” But it wasn’t all that bad. There was a time when I went to a museum every free weekend I had, but somewhere along the way, I burned out on seeing paintings and sculpture, and while Dia didn’t renew my interest in visual arts exactly, I still dug some of it.

In general, I dig stuff that’s more obvious, and conceptual art generally feels very cold to me, cerebral. There was one exhibit of smashed-up, smooshy car fenders, which to me seemed like the most stereotypical art installation known to man kind. There was one exhibit of string — just string extending from floor to ceiling at different angles, and I had to caution my father to quit rolling the stroller over them, through them. There were some pieces that seemed like…very expensive, large holes.

But not all of the art left me detached. Louise Bourgouise had an entire floor of her sculptural pieces. When the elevator doors open up, you’re greeted by a large hanging, ragged, teardrop-shaped mass, reminiscent of an upside down pig in a butcher shop. Being on the same floor of her art was like being surrounded by gigantic tumors — it was damn creepy and I was psyched to get out of there. Another exhibit I liked much better was Richard Serra. He created a bunch of steel abstract circular pieces as large as the hull of a ship that were sometimes circular, sometimes labyrinthine. You could enter most of them and the path would narrow or widen. They all made me feel like Kate Winslet in Titantic, but in a good way, like a in version where the ship doesn’t go down. (?) The best part was when I asked my mom what would we do if they happened to close the sculpture on us, and she said she would tear up her jacket to make a rope for us to climb out.


3 Replies to “Un dia at Dia Beacon (hardy har har)”

  1. I really dig Louise Bourgouise’s work!! Totally creepy, horror movie style. I remember reading that later in her life, she would have these open house salons. Like any artist could drop by her apartment, and you would bring your work to show her, and she’d critique them. So art students would be hanging around waiting for their turn to gain her audience.

    Also, I had on my old cameraphone pics of these flat bed trucks lined up on 5th avenue carrying out all of Richard Serra’s huge pieces after his big retrospective at MOMA a few years ago. It’s interesting the context of viewing art. In a gallery, his structures seemed otherworldy and landscapey. On a flatbed, it looked like some leftover industrial material being sent out to be disposed.

  2. I really like the Serra “torqued elipses” too. Isn’t conceptual art like any art? Plays, fiction, you have to wade through a lot of B.S. to get to something that has any resonance.

  3. i don’t really know what the difference between conceptual and modern and contemporary is. i’ve seen like 19th c. painting and sculpture for so long, like the impressionists and the fauvism dudes, all of which are pleasant, but in general, i like when they paint a room bright yellow and have like the word “tee pee” in the corner. you know, random stuff that seems cool. it’s new, it’s experiential, but mostly it’s not water lilies by monet (just the way i can’t listen to certain records anymore, i can’t see that painting anymore. it looks like wrapping paper to me.) but i guess “conceptual” art seems like it’s brainy and kinda boring; like there was literally a GIGANTIC HOLE as one of the exhibits and then a BUNCH OF YARN for another. i was like really, dude? really? what amazes me is when i am moved one way or another when it’s just random, abstract stuff. i think that’s why i was struck by those two artists. now for “conceptual fiction,” maybe i’d group like carole maso in that group where it’s random cr*p on a page that’s beyond me. for plays? dunno, someone on stage that goes “dieter, dieter” and then eats a sandwich?

    nk, i’m impressed with how much you know! this is a new side of nk.

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