New York City is a wonderful place, and it also has plenty of museums – but if it’s time for you to try something a little different, take a weekend getaway from NYC and head to nearby Beacon to explore the intriguing collection and wide-open spaces of the Dia:Beacon.
When you think of a museum, “open space” may not be the first word that comes to mind. Unless, that is, you are referring to the Dia:Beacon (3 Beekman Street, Beacon NY) – a contemporary art museum housed inside a former Nabisco printing plant. The building, with it’s hard wood floors, high ceilings and brick walls, is massive and fascinating – and so are some of the art installations it contains within.
Minimalist and other contemporary art pieces are scattered through enormous rooms. Don’t be intimidated by if you are the type of person who normally ends up scratching your head in front of modern paintings, wondering why it may be considered art when it perhaps looks a little questionable to you. Here the art is presented in a beautiful, organized fashion, and it’s impossible not to find something to appreciate in it: The way the pieces fit within the building’s architecture, how the lights hits and bounces off a piece (like in the photo above), how many different pieces go together, some colourful, mystifying, or intriguing. There are works by famous names like Andy Warhol, and others you may never have heard of. But you’ll find the pieces often thought-provoking (and some may still induce a little head-scratching), and in any case you’ll find a half-day spent wandering the Dia:Beacon will be time well spent.
The founders of Dia:Beacon wanted to provide a space that focused on artists whose work matured/became prominent in the 60’s and 70’s. But there is nothing dated about the art pieces here, and there are many contemporary and recently commissioned pieces.
The museum itself is located on a scenic stretch by the Hudson river, and you’ll likely want to explore the gardens and grounds as well. There are 240,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space, and the site includes thirty-one acres of land right next to ninety acres of parkland.
The town of Beacon itself is worth exploring too while you are around. Make it a full weekend and take a hike on the Fishkill Ridge before heading back to the city the next day.
- Who is this for: Art aficionados but also anyone looking for a fun, interesting escape from the city.
- Admission: General $12, seniors (age 65+) $10, students $8, children under 12 free
- How to get there: Take the train to the Metro-North train station in Beacon, just under an hour and a half from NYC. It’s a five minute walk from the station, but there is also a shuttle available.
- Visitor tips: Wear comfortable shoes! You’ll want to explore this massive museum inside and out. And make sure to check out the basement – you’ll find some of the most interesting pieces there.
- More information is available at the Dia Foundation official website.
Follow @MirabelVega on twitter for more updates from this author.