Bucket List: A Day Trip to The Dia Beacon
Bucket List: A Day Trip to The Dia Beacon: Put a trip to the Dia Museum in Beacon on your What To Do Bucket List. We did. It’s unlike any museum experience you’ve ever had and once you’ve walked the 160,000 square feet (set your Fitbit and count your steps) you can skip your Zumba class. After the museum, if your
feet aren’t barking too loud, there’s 90 acres of riverfront parkland adjacent to Dia’s grounds.
Next head to Main Street, a short drive away, where there’s foodie fun up and down this great walking town to eat in and take home. The triple threat combination of monumental art, exercise and good food makes a trip to the Dia a must do for day-trippers from the ABC towns.
The Dia, which opened in 2003 is the museum for the Dia Art Foundation’s collection of art from the 1960s the present. Housed in a former Nabisco box-printing plant situated on 31 acres on the banks of the Hudson, the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits are dedicated to single artist, site-specific installations. It’s art on steroids in a museum on steroids.
Don’t Step on the Art
Enter the Dia and step into a long gallery exclusively devoted to Walter De Maria’s tribute to randomness and possibility, I Ching. But don’t step on this series of 64 white lacquer on wood sculptures set on a red velvet carpet. Each explores a different combination of broken and unbroken lines, set on a red velvet carpet in patterns of six according to the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching. Look across to the gallery next door where there is an exact mirror image of this work. Whoa!
Another De Maria room is dedicated to his 2011 work Truck Trilogy. It consists of three vintage Chevy pickup trucks stripped to the basics to demonstrate their own sculptural aesthetic. Three polished stainless steel rods are set vertically on their flatbeds. Set in juxtaposition with each other they form within the space a sculptural experience on three levels.
Homage to the Square³ X 18
No Dia installation says art doesn’t have to be flat better than Robert Irwin’s Homage to the Square³. The work incorporates 18 cubic chambers with floor to ceiling scrims lit with fluorescent light sculptures. It’s a maze. It’s art. It’s one of the coolest installations at the Dia. Accentuated by the Dia’s openness and skylights; it’s hard to imagine this installation anyplace else.
And no artist redefines the plants industrial bones like Don Flavin. In one of the Dia’s outer galleries, you will find Flavin’s untitled 1970, a
painterly, multi-colored fluorescent tube sculpture. It delivers an other worldly experience set against the hardwood floor, white beamed ceilings and the brick and oversized industrial windows of the plant’s original skin.
In untitled (to you Heiner, with admiration and affection), Flavin bathes the museums lower level in green fluorescent light. (See second photo from top) Flavin’s design set against this barren inner scape of concrete floors and ceilings, water pipes and classic industrial era mushroom columns will spark your imagination. Is this an alien invasion or just a place where the zombies come out at night!
Don’t leave Daddy in the Dark
Another refreshing aspect of the Dia is the dearth of museum placards that can destroy the whole experience, especially if you’re a little OCD. You either feel compelled try to read every one. Or feel guilty if you don’t. At the Dia there’s often just one placard per room. So you can sort of just stroll through the architecture – surrounded by art.
Tell this to your husband if he balks at the notion of joining you. If it works, make sure you don’t miss John Chamberlain’s Daddy in the Dark, made from crushed metal car parts. There’s a whole gallery of his work in one of the outer galleries.
Other highlights of the Dia include the Richard Serra collection, Torqued Ellipses. These large- scale installations of contorted steel plates are sculptures you have to walk inside to fully comprehend. His
Double Torqued Ellipse contains a sculpture within a sculpture – so you’re not alone when you enter. Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawing #1211: Drawing Series featuring four rooms of wall to ceiling graphite drawings are mesmerizing and the museum’s upper floor showcases Louise Bourgeois’ famed Crouching Spider.
Don’t miss Michael Heizer’s North, East, South, West. Part of the Dia’s permanent collection, Heizer’s four sculptures occupy “negative space.” Instead of rising from the ground, these four-bronzed forms, two circles, a square and a rectangle, sink below the Dia surface – sculptural valleys where we come to expect mountains. In a way these works define the Dia like no other.
But there’s more – foodie fun in Beacon
There’s a host of dining options in Beacon from nosh pits to fine dining. Where to start? ALittleBeaconBlog.com lists 47 Beacon eateries. Notables include The Roundhouse, a stunning restoration of an old factory building with waterfall views of Fishkill Creek that we featured in our HVRW post in 2015. And The Beacon Hotel Restaurant, another high-end restoration of an historic building.
We dined in the more pedestrian Max’s On Main, dubbed a Best Of by Hudson Valley Magazine in 2016. Good burgers, potato skins, wraps and salads. There’s some great rock posters in the bar and famous one-liners from our favorite comedian Steven Wright in the rest room. “is it weird in here or is it just me?” P.S. the XX room (as in chromosomes) is for females and the XY is for men.
Three of the Hudson Valley’s top rated restaurants are just 15 minutes away – if you’re feeling frisky. Including Il Cenacola in Newburgh, a refined Northern Italian perennially ranked as one of the top 10 eateries in the Hudson Valley. Not far behind in reputation are Il Barilotto Enoteca in Fishkill and Aroma Osteria in Wappinger’s Falls.
Design your own Donuts at Glazed Over!
Wherever you go don’t miss some of the take home options on Main Street. Including Hudson Valley Chocolatiers for chocolate covered pretzels and Graham Crackers. Glazed Over, for the most amazing design-your-own donuts is a must do. You start with a basic donut and select a glaze, topping and drizzle from a long list of add-ons. Check out our creations: Lemon glaze, almond topping and raspberry drizzle to the left. Chocolate glaze, coconut and raspberry drizzle to the right. Enjoy!
More Stuff on What To Do’s Bucket List
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