Sunday, June 27, 2010


Dia:Beacon is designed to be a larger than life experience of art. When you first walk into this museum that was once a box making factory and see its first "gallery" that appears to be the length of a football field, you gasp a little at the sheer length and height of the room you are in and quickly begin to notice as well how effectively this huge area is used to display the work of art that is your introduction to Dia. The work is Imi Knoebel's "24 colors for Blinky, 1977," which displays 21 of the panels on a rotating basis. Each shape is brightly colored and each evades recognition as a square or triangle, rectangle or trapezoid. No shape is symmetrical or predictable. Individually, they seem like improvisations, but together they strike you as the perfect, monumental work of art for this extremely large venue.

The area that houses this work is so large, however, you can't really quite make out the work until you walk toward the middle. At that point, you can see the colors and the shapes and begin the process of trying to absorb the artist's use of color and shape to create this unique experience of art. As I looked, I was immediately reminded of Ellsworth Kelly's room of colored panels that occupy a large gallery at the MET. But Kelly was primarily interested in experimenting with color in a relatively small space. Knoebel's ambitions seem grander, though I actually have no idea what they are. But there is something about the unevenness and uniqueness of each shape and the fact that these shapes actually rotate through the work (I don't know how often) that remind me of some sort of cycle of life. Add to this the fact that this work is dedicated to Blinky Palermo, a fellow artist who died at a young age, and you have a work that is reaching for something momumental, like the gallery in which it is displayed.

1 comment:

  1. There are 24 panels. 3 of them are stacked against the south wall. Thus the title: "24 Colors for Blinky Palermo", makes more sense.