About an hour and a bit outside of New York City lies Beacon, a cosy spot within the Hudson Valley that’s home to the Dia Art Museum. It’s a place I’ve been wanting to visit ever since moving to NYC, but as it goes with life, sometimes many months, or years, have to pass before a wish is granted. But I do believe you discover something at the time you are meant to. This past weekend, I was meant to discover Beacon in what’s become one of my favourite ways to see art – by running to it.
To be certain, we didn’t run to Beacon from NYC (now that would be a marathon!) but with my BlackRosesNYC running mates, we drove up there to take in a few miles, brunch and see Dia. Those of us training for marathons – Paris and Boston – took part in a metric marathon, where 26.2 kilometres becomes 16 miles, complete with a very long bridge, some very steep hills and one very dodgy-looking motel. Aside from the motel (which we ran by because my pace partner and I took a wrong turn), the views were beautiful. Also, in spite of the snow, which is stubbornly still falling even as we enter April.
Once we’d eaten the calories burned (and possibly more) at The Hop, we went to Dia. It’s part of a constellation of sites and the galleries at the Beacon site are lit almost entirely by natural light, dictating the museum’s opening hours. That makes the building itself a sight worth taking in all of its own. The former Nabisco box printing factory harks back to Beacon’s role as an industrial city in a bygone era. The smell of concrete and feel of the iron and wood inside just add to the whole experience of being there.
When you only have a short amount of time to explore, it’s best to take in the highlights – Richard Serra’s massive yet intricate shapes, Louise Bourgeois’s giant metal spider, Sol LeWitt’s highly detailed and captivating scribbles of geometric proportions on the walls, Dan Flavin’s light installation of fluorescent slabs. It’s invigorating and stimulating after miles and miles of thoughts turning over and over in one’s mind.
Walking out of the museum at the winter closing time of 4pm, one of my friends summed it up perfectly: “The run was great, the food was great, but the art, man, the art was the best.” Although, the quote of the day has to go to the person who took the last pic above, when she told us she looked at our group and had wondered if it was “National Running Pant Day or something.”
Dia:Beacon will host a new exhibition from June.