John Chamberlain at the Dia – Exhibition Review

By Sophia Gambitsis


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.


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.