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Beatrice Helman

Exploring Dia:Beacon, an Essential New York Day Trip

Dia:Beacon is one of the best places to visit in upstate New York. It might be because I’m a Donald Judd fan– and as a result I fall for everything he does– but it probably has more to do with the symmetry and the way I could see the fall foliage through huge open train windows when I traveled to the space earlier this fall.

Dia:Beacon is located at 3 Beekman Street in Beacon, New York– a short drive or train ride north from the city that makes an excellent getaway during the colder months. The grass is perfectly kept and the trees perfectly trimmed, as if in tune with Donald Judd’s grand vision for art as the ultimate conceptual endeavor.

Somehow the structure fits in with the natural world around it. As a singular piece of art, the building and trees fuse together seamlessly.

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The enormous windows at Dia:Beacon reflect the colors of the leaves behind them, speckling the floor with pastel light. The drive up there from New York City is a trip into real autumn, full of bright orange leaves and dreamy yellow ginkgo trees, waving in the wind and looking like an ad.

Dia:Beacon also has a tiny cafe that serves warm apple cider and one of the best bookstores I’ve ever seen– making it an ideal place to visit on a blustery Sunday like today.L13085H-R01-016A

The gallery presents the Dia Art Foundation’s collection from the 1960’s to the present, as well as special exhibitions, new commissions, and public art and education programs. A single visit here made me want to drop everything, be an artist, and read about each artist’s process.

Some exhibits change, some stay, but they’re all perfectly attune to their surroundings, always, each piece enhanced by mere nature of where it’s being shown (in a beautiful gallery upstate). The luxury of all this is that you can eat in Beacon or be back in Manhattan in time for a late lunch; Dia:Beacon is close enough to enjoy as a day trip or an extended stay-cation; you decide what works best for you.

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