Everybody is reporting that Dia has announced plans to build a new home in Chelsea on the site of their former exhibition space. But Richard Lacayo comments that the Chelsea they’re coming back to is now the heart of the art market:
The Chelsea that Dia is returning to is a different place from the one where it first settled 23 years ago. Now it’s full of powerhouse galleries like Larry Gagosian’s. It’s not that Dia ever held the art market entirely at arm’s length, but of necessity it represented a different set of values. (When you maintain enduring sites like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, a giant coil of rocks in the Great Salt Lake, what else can you do?) But something about the New York art world has a way of blurring ethical lines. The New Museum, which was founded as a lower Manhattan alternative to entrenched institutions uptown, recently decided it would be a good idea to mount a show dedicated to the collection of one of its trustees, the Greek billionaire Dakis Joannou, with the artist Jeff Koons, who painted the Joannou yacht, providing window dressing as guest curator.
Can Dia make a difference in this environment? Does it want to?