John Chamberlain at the Dia – Exhibition Review

By Sophia Gambitsis

2014

Chelsea New York, New York / Beacon, New York.

The word “dia” in Greek means “through” and it represents the Dia’s initial and ongoing support for artists, artist projects and long-term installations.

Why the obsession with space and wood floors? After wandering New York’s white cube, clustered and some cramped or over-filled galleries on Massey University New York tour. We left the city on a train and ended up at the Dia gallery. It was calm and quiet compared to the city galleries. I  wandered the massive gallery and came across John Chamberlain. I had never seen his work but I was instantly amazed at the weight and size of the work. I found myself peering my head into the sculpture and consequentially being screamed at by staff. My curiosity however was set in. I wanted to see how he crafted these squished metal shapes.

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I think that the Dia gallery gave these works a lot of breathing space — and I mean a lot. The large windows on the side highlighted the work and formed interesting shadows which created a natural beauty of nature which contrasted with the hard metal. The placement of the works in the room allowed great space visualisation. It made you want to walk around and stand back. If they were clustered together, I believe the works would have looked less like abstract sculptures and more like a pile of metal rubbish. In addition to this, the colour placement of the works were well-balanced, as I hate biggest to smallest set ups. These works looked romantic and beautiful in this gallery as I love space and the architecture. So all together I enjoyed the work in this gallery more than in the Guggenheim Museum, because the white walls and squished space did not give the work any space to breathe. Meaning his works were well displayed by not being put on plinths or being clustered together and was a successful display and had easy access for all ages. 

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The DIA: Beacon – Exhibition Review

By Sophia Gambitsis

THE DIA: BEACON, New York – Exhibition

LAWRENCE WEINER, 1987

The Dia gallery is set in New York and Lawrence Weiner was curated by Howie Chen, a co-founder of ‘dispatch’, a curatorial production office and product space. The work I will be reviewing is the couch that Howie Chen placed by a wall text. I’m looking at how Lawrence Weiner’s wall text was presented/displayed. While I was wandering the massive gallery, a large couch pulled me towards it. The moment I lay upon this plain grey couch, I relaxed my spine and sat in a long-stretched slouch with my chin rested against my chest. This position evoked a massive sigh of relaxation. I stayed in this chair for perhaps two hours, who knows, but while resting I read the wall work and began to appreciate it more. I started discussions with others who wanted a rest. During our discussions our minds wandered and the conversations became off topic, but the artwork became both a puzzle and a fun read for me.

I enjoyed the way that the couch added contrast to the work and how sitting right against the back would enable you to tilt your head and see the other wall text while resting. I would linger more when viewing artworks if comfortable furniture was present near all of them. I’m also pleased with the choice of colour for the couch as grey is known to be a creative thinking activator. I would recommend  a cosy couch for any work where the artist wants the viewer to contemplate or debunk something as it was very conductive to this type of thinking. This work has influenced my ‘relax’ project as I think it was a successful curators’ set up and it is what I want to focus on.