Last Monday’s Dia Art Foundation Fall Gala was a striking affair. Video projections, sound, light-play, chatter, and music gave the cavernous venue its mystical feel, all accompanied by a commission by experimental electronic music duo Matmos, whose performance was reminiscent of a spiritual journey. Even so, the full series of events and installations fell in line with the framework of minimal and progressive art that the Dia Art Foundation specializes in bringing to the public through an array of different channels.
The foundation’s space Dia:Chelsea, in New York City’s gallery district offers rich public programming including artist’s talks, poetry readings and lectures, but the organization is looking to expand, a project which stood at the center of the fall gala. Dia also maintains several long-term, site-specific projects, including Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room(1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) (1988), and Dan Flavin’s untitled (1996), all in Manhattan and De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer(1977) in Kassel, Germany. Dia was instituted in New York City in 1974 by Philippa de Menil, a Texan from a family of art collectors and her then husband Heiner Friedrich, a German art dealer along with art historian Helen Winkler. Founded upon a set of visionary principles, many of which still stay true in their mission statement, the foundation intended to help artists realize projects beyond them due to scale or scope. Through the years they have managed accomplish this and also go beyond by commissioning, preserving and collaborating on many ambitious projects in the USA and abroad.
Present in the crowd was Dia Chairman, Nathalie de Gunzburg, as well as Dia director, Philippe Vergne and Dia Trustees, Christopher Bass, Frances Bowes, Sandra Brant, Virginia Lebermann, Howard Rachofsky, Marissa Sackler, Jimmy Traboulsi, and Charles Wright. Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum Harlem and co-founder of The Art Production Fund Doreen Remen, Maria Baibokova founder of Baibokov Art Projects as well as many other art world notables helped support and celebrate the foundation. Among the crowd were dealers Roland Augustine, Marianne Boesky & husband Liam Culman, Paula Cooper, Marc Glimcher, Andrew Kreps, David Maupin, David Zwirner. Vanity Fair’s contributing editor Ingrid Sischy, author and American Academy honoree Barbara Goldsmith, poet Kenneth Goldsmith, model Polina Proshkina, designer Kate Spade and artists Maria Lynch, Brice Marden, Mariko Mori, Lawrence Weiner and photographer Todd Eberle.
Part of the Matmos commission.
For the main entertainment Dia’s Matmos commission involved a site-specific sound-piece with video and performers. Themes ranged from a visit to the toilet to Frankenstein, all inspired by “the room we are in.” Matmos is based in Baltimore, a melting pot for contemporary music, and are currently signed by Thrill Jockey.
Doreen Remen, Yvonne Force Villareal, Leelee Sobieski
The Marden family