Dia Art Foundation Presents Robert Ryman at Dia:Chelsea

July 17, 2015

Dia Art Foundation Presents Robert Ryman at Dia:Chelsea
December 9, 2015–June 18, 2016

New York, NY–More than twenty years after his last solo museum exhibition in New York City, Dia Art Foundation will present Robert Ryman from December 9, 2015, to June 18, 2016, at 545 West 22nd Street in New York City. This comprehensive exhibition brings together six decades of Ryman’s vital paintings―ranging in date from the 1950s through the 2000s.

Robert Ryman is the second exhibition to be presented at Dia:Chelsea under the leadership of Director Jessica Morgan and signals a renewed commitment by Dia to develop programs in New York City. It follows the presentation of Dia 15 VI 13 545 West 22 Street Dream House by La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, and Jung Hee Choi, which closes on October 24, 2015.

“It is a great honor to collaborate with Robert Ryman and The Greenwich Collection to create a new exhibition that allows visitors to experience Ryman’s ambition of extended space and time in painting,” said Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation. “We are thrilled that audiences will have an unprecedented opportunity to experience Ryman’s wide-ranging studio output at both Dia:Chelsea and Dia:Beacon, linking two of our New York sites through his remarkable practice.”

Since the 1950s, Robert Ryman’s (b. 1930) works have been both readily identified and identifiable by their achromatic surfaces. Viewers see and experience these painted frequenciesof light as the color white, but Ryman’s radical exploration of the tonal values, light reflections, and spatial effects of white were never limited to paint. Very early on his experimentations with canvas, board, and paper expanded to include aluminum, fiberglass, and Plexiglas, before evolving into a material vocabulary that is as revolutionary as his use of various white hues. As such, Ryman’s art works are often discussed in relation to abstract expressionism as well as minimalism and post-minimalism.

“Ryman is deeply aware of his materials and their processes. His works have to be understood as part of an expansive vision of art and art making,” said Courtney J. Martin, Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture at Brown University and curator, Robert Ryman.

For Ryman the position of a single work in terms of date or title is eschewed in favor of the piece becoming part of a continuous series of material and surface explorations. Correspondingly, the notion of “painting” is extended to three dimensions, where the materiality of the support surface is to be displayed as part of an uninterrupted interaction with the gallery architecture. A highlight of the exhibition will be the opportunity to view the artist’s rarely seen fully three dimensional works, which are recognized as Ryman’s signature innovations, including one of the first paintings in which he incorporated fasteners into the composition, a painting on aluminum, and a painting in baked porcelain on copper panels completed in the 1970s.

Curated by Courtney J. Martin, Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture at Brown University, with Megan Witko, Assistant Curator at Dia, this exhibition builds on Dia’s deeprelationship with the artist. In 1988 Dia presented an exhibition of Ryman’s paintings at the former Dia Center for the Arts in New York City, and since 2003 Dia has maintained a long-term presentation of Ryman’s works at Dia:Beacon.

On November 8, 2015, Dia will celebrate Ryman’s long-time relationship with Dia by honoring him at its annual fundraising gala, Dia Fall Night.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Dia will host a two-part symposium that will bring together noted artists, critics, and scholars engaged with Ryman’s practice. The first part will be held on March 12, 2016, at Dia:Beacon, and the second part will be held at Dia:Chelsea on May 21, 2016.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color companion volume of new writing on the artist, generated, in part, by the symposium. The publication will include reproductions of works in the exhibition, supplemented with other illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography.

The book will be realized within the context of Dia’s larger publication program, which, since 1987, has produced a substantial body of scholarship surrounding Dia’s exhibitions, programs, and permanent collection.

Dia Art Foundation
Founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is committed to initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving extraordinary art projects. Dia:Beacon opened in May 2003 in Beacon, New York. Dia also maintains several long-term sites, including 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, which was inaugurated at Documenta 7 in 1982), all of which are located in New York City; the Dan Flavin Art Institute (established in 1983) in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico; Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in Great Salt Lake, Utah; and De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany.

Dia currently presents temporary exhibitions and installations, performances, lectures, and readings on West 22nd Street in the Chelsea section of New York City. Plans for a new project space are underway.

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