The legendary arts nonprofit Dia has a vision for how to expand its exhibition spaces in New York’s Chelsea and Soho neighborhoods, as well as in the city of Beacon upstate. In a press release sent out yesterday, director Jessica Morgan explained that, rather than commission a splashy new Chelsea building—like so many commercial dealers have done—it will lovingly renovate the spaces that it already owns, accentuating rather than whitewashing the past lives of the buildings. Morgan said that the new plan “has been driven by artist need and has drawn upon the repurposing and activation of existing spaces.”
This is a departure from previous plans. In 2012, former director Philippe Verge announced that the center had finally purchased three contiguous spaces on West 22nd Street in Chelsea, and would build a five-story building with masonry-and-glass facade designed by the architect Roger Duffy. But after Vergne left to lead MOCA in Los Angeles, new director Jessica Morgan decided that she liked the original look of the spaces, one of which is a striking red-brick building that once housed Alcamo Marble Works. Yesterday’s announcement made clear that this site and the two adjacent to it will be turned into a 32,500-square-foot space, and it will be joined in Manhattan by a new gallery at 77 Wooster Street in Soho, a space long owned by Dia but rented out in recent years to fashion boutiques. The site in Beacon, which is housed in a former Nabisco factory, will be renovated as well, adding 11,000 feet of new exhibition space.