Early Paintings by Jo Baer to be Presented at Dia Beacon this Spring

Exhibition Includes Several New Acquisitions Alongside Important Loans

Beacon, NY, March 23, 2022 – Opening on April 8, 2022, this exhibition marks the first presentation of Jo Baer’s work at Dia since the vital 2002 survey Jo Baer: The Minimalist Years, 1960–1975 at Dia Center for the Arts in Chelsea. Following Dia’s recent acquisition of several works by Baer, this presentation at Dia Beacon traces the artist’s progressive experiments with color, form, and visual framing in the 1960s and ’70s. Interrogating both the medium of painting and the canvas itself, Baer’s work from this period complicates notions of the pictorial field and the painted object. 

“These early paintings are emblematic of Baer’s essential contributions to Minimalism. In the context of other artists in Dia’s collection, we can follow connected ideas about form and objecthood, as well as her singular dedication to the medium of paint on canvas,” said Jessica Morgan, Dia’s Nathalie de Gunzburg Director. 

Over a career of more than six decades, Baer has held a sustained interest in different modes of painting—from her pared-down, nonobjective works of the 1960s and early 70s to her later experimentations with text, symbols, and figuration, made after she abruptly turned away from pure abstraction in 1975. The forthcoming exhibition at Dia Beacon includes works from Baer’s Korean, Single Paintings, Double Bar, and Radiator series, produced during these two foundational decades of the artist’s practice. These series underscore the artist’s inquiries into the relationships between boundaries and contours as well as centers and peripheries—concerns paramount to her practice in these critical early years. 

Working alongside peers Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt, Baer embraced a similar sensibility through reconsidering the status of the art object—its referentiality as well as its physical and relational properties—through rigorous and reductive principles. However, she distinguished herself from these figures by resolutely demonstrating the possibilities of painting as a radical medium. The spare, hard-edged abstraction that defines this period of Baer’s painting practice is systematic while dynamically engaging with optical experience. 

“This era of Baer’s career was truly remarkable, as she radically advanced the notion of painting as object, shifting the conversation at a time when many of her peers considered sculpture the only way forward,” said exhibition curator Jordan Carter.Engaging painting’s fundamental properties of color, form, and light—while uniquely drawing attention to the edges and the integral nature of the support—she emphasized the self-referential possibilities of the medium and its power to affect perception.”    

Jo Baer is curated by Jordan Carter, curator at Dia, with Theodora Bocanegra Lang, curatorial assistant, and with special thanks to Megan Holly Witko, former manager of exhibitions 

About Jo Baer 

Jo Baer was born in 1929 in Seattle. After majoring in biology at the University of Washington between 1946 and 1949, she undertook graduate work in physiological psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York. Included in key early exhibitions of Minimal art in the early 1960s, Baer began showing widely after her first solo show at the Fischbach Gallery in New York in 1966. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York held a midcareer retrospective of Baer’s work in 1975. That same year, she moved to Ireland. Since 1983 she has lived and worked in Amsterdam, where the Stedelijk Museum presented a major retrospective in 1999. 

Dia Art Foundation 

Taking its name from the Greek word meaning “through,” Dia was established in 1974 with the mission to serve as a conduit for artists to realize ambitious new projects, unmediated by overt interpretation and uncurbed by the limitations of more traditional museums and galleries. Dia’s programming fosters contemplative and sustained consideration of a single artist’s body of work and its collection is distinguished by the deep and long-standing relationships that the nonprofit has cultivated with artists whose work came to prominence particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.  

In addition to Dia Beacon, Dia Bridgehampton, and Dia Chelsea, Dia maintains and operates a constellation of commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on Land art, nationally and internationally. These include:  

  • Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), and Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks, inaugurated in 1982 and ongoing), all of which are located in New York City 
  • De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico
  • Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in the Great Salt Lake, Utah
  • Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1973–76) in the Great Basin Desert, Utah
  • De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany

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For additional information or materials, contact:  
Hannah Gompertz, Dia Art Foundation, hgompertz@diaart.org, +1 212 293 5598 
Melissa Parsoff, Parsoff Communications, mparsoff@parsoff-communications.com, +1 516 445 5899 
(US press inquiries) 
Sam Talbot, sam@sam-talbot.com, +44 (0) 772 5184 630 (international press inquiries) 

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