Openings USA

Dia returns home to Chelsea

Director Philippe Vergne wants to "put the voice of the artist back at the centre" of the New York institution

new york. Five years after closing its gallery spaces on West 22nd Street and three years after scrapping its plan to build a museum on the High Line, the Dia Art Foundation announced last month that it was returning to Chelsea—to one of its old addresses, 545 West 22nd Street. Dia will construct a new building on the footprint of the present one, which the foundation owns and currently rents to PaceWildenstein gallery.

Dia has not yet announced a budget or an architectural plan for the new building, but the foundation’s director, Philippe Vergne, told The Art Newspaper that he wants to keep the budget low (“I want resources to be expended on artists,” he said) and the architecture modest. Explaining that the design discussions are complex, he said: “To do a simple building is as complicated as to do a flamboyant one.”

The building will house exhibitions and long-term installations, as well as performances, readings and symposia that will “put the voice of the artist back at the centre of Dia”, said Vergne. He suggested that he wants the Chelsea space to show artists who are less well-known and less canonised than those whose work is in the galleries at Dia:Beacon in upstate New York. “It’s very important that Dia doesn’t become a time capsule of this moment in the late 1960s and 1970s,” he said.

Dan Graham’s “Rooftop Urban Park Project”, 1991, which was originally located on the roof of 548 West 22nd Street—Dia’s former main exhibition space, which it sold in 2007—will be reinstalled on the roof of the new building. Vergne said that there is another piece he wants to install in the building, but that the details haven’t been worked out. “It involves a lot of people,” he said.

In the past two years Dia has presented exhibitions at the Hispanic Society of America in Washington Heights. That collaboration has one more year to go, and Vergne said he might consider extending it, since the new building will not be completed for three years or more. But he added that Dia is also talking with artists about possible projects for the intervening years that are not gallery-based.

More from The Art Newspaper


7 Dec 09
20:30 CET


That's great! DIA is very interesting place, i have visited Dia:Beacon in upstate New York this summer! You are doing great job! Thank you!

30 Nov 09
21:14 CET


Washington Heights is still part of the City.

29 Nov 09
20:36 CET


That's great news! Dia, the city misses you!

Submit a comment

All comments are moderated. If you would like your comment to be approved, please use your real name, not a pseudonym. We ask for your email address in case we wish to contact you - it will not be made public and we do not use it for any other purpose.


Want to write a longer comment to this article? Email


Share this