Marking the reopening of the Dia Art Foundation’s Chelsea headquarters following an expansive renovation project, artist Lucy Raven has installed a set of new works that emphasize points of renewal, construction, and the organization’s place in the history of contemporary art through a deft and intuitive process.
The show, open through next year, features a pair of light works, including a film shot over the course of two years at a concrete plant in Bellevue, Idaho, as well as a series of light installations that reference the building’s former role as a marble-cutting factory.Part of a comprehensive multiyear campaign to advance Dia’s mission, program, resources, and facilities, the renovation in Chelsea has rejuvenated a space that has long felt somewhat out of step with Dia’s more impressive installations downtown and its immense campus in Beacon, turning the site into a more flexible and engaging space to explore and view works. This is quite well exemplified in the room where Raven’s Ready Mix is shown. Emphasizing the space’s stunning rafters and its skylight, the space feels immediately more inviting.
Raven often considers the complex histories of this region’s formation and depiction, as well as its contemporary role in global commerce, communication, and development. In doing so, her work engages the legacy of the Land artists that Dia has supported since the early 1970s. Incorporating moving images, photography, sculpture, and sound, her immersive installations address issues of labor, technology, and the hidden mechanisms of power.
Ready Mix is a fitting example, a churning, cacophonous exploration of construction as both the process and material product of industrial labor. Yet here, the film also speaks well to the context of the site, and its newly reworked interior, a fitting summation of the time and work put into this new space. Similarly, her work in the space next door emphasizes the past in concert with the present, a series of gleaming spotlights that presents the space’s architectural past and present, and orchestrates a dialogue between eras. Managing to look both forward and backward simultaneously, Raven’s work here is a perfect return to form for the rejuvenated Dia:Chelsea space.
– D. Creahan
Lucy Raven at Dia:Chelsea [Exhibition Site]