Press Release

Dia Announces Free Admission Across Its New York City Sites with Reopening of Expanded Dia:Chelsea in September 2020

New York City, New York
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Dia:Chelsea’s Inaugural Year in Expanded Site Features Site-Specific Commissions by Renata Lucas and Lucy Raven and Installations by Joseph Beuys and Rita McBride

Dia Art Foundation announced today that it will offer free admission across its five existing New York City sites starting September 2020 to coincide with the reopening of Dia:Chelsea. Free admission will extend to all six sites when the new Dia:SoHo space opens in Fall 2022. Fostering increased accessibility and engagement, the initiative advances Dia’s founding mission to provide audiences with opportunities for meaningful and durational experiences with art. This move also builds on the nonprofit’s long history of embracing free admission at its permanent artist sites throughout the city, including Walter De Maria’s renowned The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979) in SoHo; Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), inaugurated at Documenta in 1982 and now on view in Chelsea; and Max Neuhaus’s sound installation Times Square (1977) in Midtown, all of which have been free to the public since their inception. Free admission will be funded by Dia’s endowment, which is part of an ongoing fundraising initiative, and by the generous support of the foundation’s members.

Dia simultaneously announced plans for its first year of programming at the reopened Dia:Chelsea, which is currently undergoing an upgrade and expansion as part of a broader $90 million campaign advancing its mission, program, and facilities. Spanning new commissions by contemporary artists and iconic installations from historical figures, Dia:Chelsea’s inaugural year will feature a new multipart, site-specific project by Renata Lucas, opening in September 2020, an exhibition of new commissions by Lucy Raven, opening in March 2021, and parallel installations of Joseph Beuys and Rita McBride, opening in September 2021 and coinciding with the centennial of Beuys’s birth.  

“I applaud Dia’s move to offer free admission to all of the New York City sites that it operates, including the new Dia:Chelsea in my Council District,” said Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council. “All New Yorkers deserve access to our city’s unparalleled cultural landscape regardless of income. This initiative is helping to build a future in which New Yorkers of all backgrounds are able to enjoy arts and culture close to home.”

“We are thrilled to be launching this free admission policy with the reopening of Dia:Chelsea next year. With expanded and improved spaces in the city, a bolstered schedule of exhibitions as well as public and educational programming, and now the removal of admission fees across all of our New York City sites, we hope to increase access, deepen engagement, and encourage repeat visits to Dia’s sites around the city,” said Jessica Morgan, Dia’s Nathalie de Gunzburg Director. “Our inaugural season will take full advantage of our revitalized and light-filled exhibition spaces at Dia:Chelsea. It will also reflect the evolution of our program, which today embraces a broader stable of artists and perspectives while still exploring the formal pillars central to artists working at the time of Dia’s establishment. Free admission allows us to establish an ‘open door’ to the city and community that has been our home for almost half a century.”

Dia broke ground on the upgrade and expansion of Dia:Chelsea in May 2019. Designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO) to create a more cohesive visitor experience across Dia’s three buildings on West 22nd Street, the project is part of a comprehensive multiyear campaign that includes: the fall 2022 launch of Dia:SoHo at 77 Wooster Street and renovation of the adjacent De Maria installations; the restoration and expansion of the lower level and exterior landscape of Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York; and the strengthening of Dia’s endowment, supporting operations across all sites and the growth and conservation of the permanent collection. 

About Dia:Chelsea’s Inaugural Program

The inaugural season at Dia:Chelsea’s expanded site reflects Dia’s commitment to establishing deep and long-lasting relationships with Minimal, Postminimal, and Conceptual artists who came of age during the 1960s and 1970s, while also supporting commissions by contemporary artists who extend the legacy of these figures. 

Dia:Chelsea will reopen in September 2020 with a multipart commission exploring issues of urban redevelopment and transformation by Brazilian artist Renata Lucas, culminating a five-year engagement with Dia. Lucas is known for creating site-specific interventions that question social, cultural, and economic exchanges within the urban landscape. Her Dia commission will examine the shifting architectural and social histories of New York City neighborhoods as a means of reimagining buildings and layering different vernaculars. This will be Lucas’s first institutional commission in the United States.

In March 2021 Lucy Raven will install several newly commissioned, large-scale works at Dia:Chelsea that explore properties of speed, aerodynamics, force, and pressure in relation to historic and contemporary ideas about the formation and depiction of the American West. An Arizona native, Raven often uses popular imagery and symbols from the West in her artistic practice to illustrate the invisible forces behind global communication and commerce, addressing issues of labor, technology, and hidden mechanisms of power. Her immersive site-specific installations connect disparate images and sound, and incorporate animation, moving images, photography, and performance.

Concluding the first year of programming at the reopened Dia:Chelsea, parallel presentations by Joseph Beuys and Rita McBride opening September 2021 will provide audiences with the opportunity to explore the work of two major figures from Dusseldorf’s Kunstakademie on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Beuys’s birth. The two artists—separated by nearly forty years—share a deep interest in pedagogy and material culture. Returning to Dia following the installation of her 2017 commission Particulates, McBride creates work that explores the participatory and democratic possibilities of architecture, installation, and sculpture. At Dia, McBride’s modular installation Arena, first exhibited in 1997, will fill an entire gallery. This temporary monumental amphitheater serves as both a sculptural artwork in its own right and a functional structure for public programs and events organized by the artist and the institution. An artist with whom Dia has fostered a long and rich relationship, Beuys rooted his practice in politics, social philosophy, and environmentalism. The End of the Twentieth Century (1983–85), a major installation sharing the ecological concerns of 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), will occupy the second of Dia:Chelsea’s galleries. As part of the relaunch of Dia:Chelsea, 7000 Oaks will be extended; two additional pairs of oak trees and basalt stones will be situated near the entrance to create a canopy.

About Dia:Chelsea’s Design

Designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO), the upgrade and expansion of Dia:Chelsea integrates Dia’s three contiguous buildings on West 22nd Street—including a six-story building and two one-story buildings—to support a more cohesive visitor experience. The 32,500-square-foot project features expanded street-level galleries for exhibitions, a new flexible space for public and educational programs, the return of Dia’s bookstore to Chelsea, and the extension of Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) along the street. The design respects the integrity of the original spatial and material qualities of the buildings as well as the character of the neighborhood, which Dia has been part of since the 1980s, and extends the institution’s history of repurposing and revitalizing existing buildings in the creation of new exhibition spaces. For more information about ARO’s design for Dia:Chelsea, see here.

Dia Art Foundation

Taking its name from the Greek word meaning “through,” Dia was established in 1974 with the mission to serve as a conduit for artists to realize ambitious new projects, unmediated by overt interpretation and uncurbed by the limitations of more traditional museums and galleries. Dia’s programming fosters contemplative and sustained consideration of a single artist’s body of work and its collection is distinguished by the deep and longstanding relationships that the nonprofit has cultivated with artists whose work came to prominence particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.

In addition to Dia:Beacon and Dia:Chelsea, Dia maintains and operates a constellation of commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on Land art, nationally and internationally. These include: 

-Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), and Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks, which was inaugurated at Documenta in 1982), all of which are located in New York City

-The Dan Flavin Art Institute (established in 1983) in Bridgehampton, New York

-De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico

-Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in Great Salt Lake, Utah

-Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973–76) in Great Basin Desert, Utah

-De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany


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Joseph Beuys, 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), inaugurated at Documenta in 1982. © Joseph Beuys/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York

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