Dia Annexes Even More Space for Its Planned Chelsea Museum

Dia Annexes Even More Space for Its Planned Chelsea Museum
Dia currently rents the property it owns at 545 West 22nd Street to the Pace Gallery. It plans to build a new space on that site.
(Photo by Andrew Russeth)
Reminder: the Whitney isn't the only marquee art name opening a giant new space in Chelsea in the coming years. The Dia Art Foundation confirmed yesterday that it has completed an $11.5 million purchase of a new building at 541 West 22nd Street, adding some extra legroom to the 50,000-square-foot expanse next door that it has been planning to transform into a ground-floor exhibition venue.

The organization's return to Chelsea has been long in the works. In 2009, the foundation announced that it would construct a new building on land it owns at 545 West 22nd Street. (It currently rents the space to the Pace Gallery.) Then, news broke this week that the institution had purchased the 5,000-square-foot space next door from Alcamo Marble Works in June. The acquisition, which will expand Dia's continued presence on 22nd Street, was "too good an opportunity to pass up," Katie Sonnenborn, Dia's director of external affairs, told ARTINFO.


In its 2009 announcement, Dia's leadership said it intended to continue the institution's tradition of commissioning artists to create long-term, often large-scale projects at the new Chelsea space. In an earlier interview with ARTINFO, Dia's director Philippe Vergne emphasized an interest in working with artists to create new work. "I don't want Dia to become a time capsule," he said.


When the Dia Art Foundation opened a permanent installation space in Chelsea in 1987, it was one of the earliest arts groups to plant a flag amid the district's warehouses. In 2003, Dia went on to transform a former Nabisco factory into a permanent exhibition space in Beacon, New York. Shortly thereafter, it shuttered its Chelsea space for repairs and ultimately abandoned it in 2007. Zach Feuer Gallery and CRG Gallery took over the ground floor space last year. 

Sonnenborn declined to provide a projected opening date for the Manhattan space. She did confirm, however, that the institution had extended Pace's lease by six months, meaning construction can begin no earlier than June 2012. Meanwhile, she said Dia would continue to hold readings and lectures at its fifth-floor space at 535 W 22nd Street.