press release

Beacon, NY— On May 17, 2008, Dia Art Foundation opens a new installation of a six-film projection by Tacita Dean, titled Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage’s composition 4'33 with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007. Based on footage Dean shot of Merce Cunningham with Trevor Carlson at Cunningham’s studio in Manhattan, in April 2007, Dean’s multipartite installation is presented at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, as part of special programming marking the fifth anniversary of the museum’s opening in New York’s Hudson Valley. The installation will be on view through September 1, 2008.

The celebratory fifth-anniversary weekend, on Saturday, May 17*, and Sunday, May 18, 2008, also includes performances by Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the launch of two special long-term installations: Imi Knoebel’s monumental 24 Colors—for Blinky (1977) and a new installation by artist Helen Mirra of Knoebel’s Room 19 (1968).

For her new project, Tacita Dean shot six distinct films depicting legendary choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham performing Stillness, his singular choreography to John Cage’s radical 1952 composition, 4' 33?. In each film, the fixed camera remains focused on Cunningham, who sits in a chair and assumes a variety of attitudes. This static scene is broken twice, when Trevor Carlson, director of the Cunningham Dance Company, marks the three parts with a simple gesture. Subtly different, each performance has been filmed from a different camera angle. Each is presented on a screen whose dimensions are calibrated to render the image of Cunningham life-size.

Cage’s 4' 33?, a score reliant upon the ambient sounds of the pianist, the audience, and the environment, was first performed in upstate New York in 1952. By that time, Cage and Cunningham were life-long partners, and for the next 40 years, the pair would collaborate on explorations of their respective time-based practices, dance and music. Never considering film simply as a vehicle for the documentation of his work, Cunningham has long collaborated with filmmakers, including, notably, Charles Atlas, in a pioneering exploration of the possibilities of choreography for the camera.

Dean’s project is also a touchstone against which to consider Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s series Beacon Events, created during a two-year series of programs at Dia:Beacon. Over eight performances, one each season, the Company is presenting original choreography and scores created in response to specific installations at the museum, initiating a rich and often unexpected dialogue between the dancer’s movements and the artworks on display. Following performances in September 2007 and January 2008, the third performance in the Company’s series will take place on Sunday, May 18, 2008, at 2pm and 4:30pm.

Tacita Dean Born in Canterbury, England, in 1965, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean is celebrated for a rich and diverse body of work that includes films, drawings, photographs, audio recordings, and installations. Her artworks often revolve around historical facts and fictions, and both chance and circumstance play an important role in her narratives. Dean has exhibited internationally in solo and group shows since 1992. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (Hugo Boss Prize Exhibition, 2007); Schaulager, Munchenstein/Basel, Switzerland (2006); and the National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway (2006).

Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries Dia Art Foundation celebrates the fifth anniversary of Dia:Beacon in May 2008. The museum, which has welcomed 350,000 visitors since its opening, presents Dia’s distinguished collection of art from the 1960s to the present. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, the museum occupies a former Nabisco box-printing facility, which was renovated by Dia with artist Robert Irwin and architect OpenOffice. Dia:Beacon’s expansive galleries comprise 240,000 square feet of exhibition space illuminated by natural light. The museum houses works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half century, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Andy Warhol, and Lawrence Weiner.

The museum also presents temporary exhibitions, as well as public programs designed to complement the collection and exhibitions, including monthly gallery talks, Merce Cunningham Dance Company Events, music performances by St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Community Free Days for neighboring counties, and an education program that serves area students at all levels.

Dia:Beacon is easily reachable via Metro-North Railroad. Trains depart hourly from Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and the Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of the museum. For schedule and fare information, visit the MTA’s website at The museum is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia’s website at Admission is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia members and children under 12. Winter hours (though April 14, 2008) are Friday through Monday, 11am to 4pm. Summer hours (starting April 17, 2008) are Thursday through Monday, 11am to 6 pm. The public information line for the museum is 845.440.0100.

Dia Art Foundation A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries. In the fall of 2007 Dia initiated a partnership with The Hispanic Society of America, where Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the Society’s galleries while seeking a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, Dia Art Foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton on Long Island. For additional public information, visit

Tacita Dean
"Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage’s composition 4'33 with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007"