First Significant Restoration in Work's 35-Year History

Jun 08, 2012

New York, NY-Dia Art Foundation announced today that Miuccia Prada and Larry Gagosian are leading the support of the restoration of Walter De Maria's The Lightning Field. Completed in 1977, The Lightning Field was one of Dia's earliest commissions and is emblematic of its commitment to the long-term support of extraordinary art projects whose scale exceeds the limits of traditional institutions. This is the first major preservation treatment to be conducted in the artwork's history. It is scheduled to take place over four months in spring 2013.

"We are grateful to Miuccia Prada and Larry Gagosian for taking a generous leadership role in conserving this iconic artwork. It takes a profound understanding and appreciation of these unconventional art works and of their historical importance to make to such a commitment," said Philippe Vergne, Director, Dia Art Foundation. "Throughout its history, Dia has helped support and encourage artists' freedom to dream, take risks, and realize their ideas in the scale, location, and time frame of their choosing. The Lightning Field is one of the earliest examples of this commitment and it remains central to Dia's identity."

Miuccia Prada said, "The Lightning Field is one of the most powerful art works I know. The visit of this extraordinary place had a huge impact on me, and I am glad that years later I was able to spend some time with Walter De Maria when he prepared his exhibition at the Prada Foundation in Milan. It is also essential to preserve this outstanding example of Land Art for future generations, and we hope that many people will join us in order to enable Dia to sustain this incredible installation."

Larry Gagosian said, "The Lightning Field is like Mount Rushmore for a new generation."

Set in a mile-by-kilometer grid, The Lightning Field is comprised of 400 steel poles-two inches in diameter and averaging 20 feet and 7½ inches in height-that are spaced 220 feet apart and have solid pointed tips that define a horizontal plane.

The Lightning Field is situated in a remote area of western New Mexico and over its lifespan, weather conditions and high-winds have taken a toll on the sculpture. As the steward of this extraordinary artwork, Dia is committed to ensuring its care and survival and this gift will allow Dia to directly address the deterioration of the sculpture's poles. The conservation will be completed on-site and will include inspection, repair, and reinforcement of all 400 steel poles.

The Lightning Field will be open in 2012 through October for overnight visits, which are limited to six people at a time by reservation. The restoration work will be led by longtime caretaker Robert Weathers and will begin in late winter 2013 when The Lightning Field is closed to the public, reopening for visits in summer 2013.

The Lightning Field, a sculpture to be walked in as well as viewed, is intended to be experienced over an extended period of time. Since its completion, Dia has spearheaded long-term efforts to protect the surrounding open landscape as a means of preserving the isolated experience that is essential to the work for future generations of visitors. In 2009, Dia completed a conservation easement permanently protecting approximately 9,000 acres surrounding the sculpture.

In addition to The Lightning Field, Dia commissioned and continues to maintain three other early and iconic projects by Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1977), both in downtown Manhattan, New York as well as The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany which is a companion piece to The Broken Kilometer.

Dia Art Foundation
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, opened in May 2003 in Beacon, New York, on the banks of the Hudson River as the home for Dia's distinguished collection of art from the 1960s to the present. Dia:Beacon, which occupies a former Nabisco printing factory, features major installations of works by a focused group of some of the most significant artists of the last half-century, as well as special exhibitions, new commissions, and diverse public and education programs. Dia:Chelsea is located on West 22nd Street in the heart of New York City's gallery district, which the institution helped to pioneer. Currently open for artist lectures and readings, Dia is developing plans to expand its presence in Chelsea.

Dia also maintains long-term, site-specific projects. These include Walter De Maria's The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus's Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys's 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) (1988), and Dan Flavin's untitled (1996), in Manhattan; The Dan Flavin Art Institute, in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria's Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), in Kassel, Germany; Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970), in the Great Salt Lake, Utah; and De Maria's The Lightning Field (1977), in Quemado, New Mexico. For additional information: www.diaart.org.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, press@diaart.org or 212 293 5518

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