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Museums Near NYC – Dia Beacon

The Museum:

Dia Beacon is a museum near NYC that displays the majority of the Dia Art Foundation’s collection: art from the 1960s to the present. It occupies a former Nabisco box-printing factory that’s a prime example of early-20th-century industrial architecture. The 300,000-square-foot building includes skylights that flood the galleries with natural light. The museum kept the original integrity of the structure while incorporating a seasonally changing garden in the landscape. Dia Beacon includes a permanent collection, as well as a rotating exhibitions and special artist commissions.

The Location:

Located on the banks of the Hudson River, Dia Beacon resides in the small Hudson Valley town of Beacon, New York. Since the museum’s opening in 2003, it’s become an art destination visited by people from all over the world. It’s possible to drive there, but the artist Robert Irwin likes the idea that a visitor’s experience begins in Grand Central Terminal. Dia Beacon is an hour and a half away from Manhattan by Metro-North. Irwin believes that slowly leaving the city and its constraints is part of the experience. For him, moving from a crowded metropolis to the open plan of Dia Beacon is a transition at the heart of the institution’s philosophy. That’s because Dia, from the Greek, means “passing through.”

The Art:

Dia Beacon’s collection showcases the work of many prominent artists of our time. It was devised as a space where each gallery would house a single artist’s work. Works by Richard Serra, Michael Heizer, and Dan Flavin have pride of place. These individual pieces are large and site-specific, but aren’t the only ones included in the museum. The Dia Art Foundation has also acquired and helps maintain historically significant earthworks. The museum is committed to collecting and showing artwork by women and people of color.

Around Town:

Dia Beacon is one of the most compelling museums near NYC. But before or after your visit, make sure you check out the town. Bank Square Coffeehouse has excellent hot drinks and snacks, as does Big Mouth Coffee Roasters. There’s Meyer’s Olde Dutch for exceptional burgers, or stop by the Beacon Daily for gourmet sandwiches. The Hudson Valley Brewery is a great place to sit and sample the local craft beers. You can also take a hike to the Beacon Overlook: although it’s a steep route to the top, you can’t beat the views of the Hudson Valley. There’s so much to do in in and around Beacon that it warrants a weekend stay at The Maker Hotel.

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