So, where was I? (A week of post-NYC fatigue, a profoundly late night celebrating a friend’s birthday, a cold, and preoccupation with prepping for Lightning in a Bottle triggered my severe procrastination affliction and set my writing back a few days.)
Oh, yes. Mother’s Day.
3:49 a.m. After visiting with friends and bouncing around Brooklyn for several hours, I gingerly turned the key to my parents’ apartment, cautious not to wake them up.
I needn’t have worried.
My dad was slouched on the couch, with his head cocked back, glasses crooked, mouth wide open, and snoring like a freight train.
I kicked off my boots and sunk my toes into the plush carpet, luxuriating in the notion that it would be mere minutes before I could crawl under a fluffy comforter. Walking towards the bathroom to brush my teeth, however, I noticed that the lights were on in my parents’ bedroom.
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with my mother, Donna, she’s what you’d call a worrier.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking — ALL mothers worry. But to a degree.
My mom’s capacity to fret might actually warrant a Guinness Record. I recall an occasion, for example, when I had accidentally fallen asleep at a friend’s place. She wandered Central Park at sunrise, searching for my dead body.
On this particular night, it turned out that not only had my iPhone battery died, but I had also managed to lose it somewhere between Bar Reis in Park Slope and East 90th Street. So when I failed to respond to her text message asking when I would be home, she couldn’t sleep.
What do most people do when plagued with insomnia? Brew herbal tea. Read a magazine. Count sheep.
She had spent the previous hour trying on and reorganizing the more than fifty t-shirts and sweaters now stacked so neatly in her armoire that she might consider a gig at The Gap.
Anyways, this was all a really long-winded explanation for the rather late start to our Mother’s Day odyssey — replete with a 2-hour brunch and some irksome directional shortcomings attributable to my ordinarily map-minded father — to visit the stunning Dia:Beacon.
The moment we walked into the museum’s expansive and light-drenched galleries, any residual irritability was absorbed immediately by the bright hardwood floors, which seemed to store a piece of history within every grain.
Formerly a box printing factory, Dia:Beacon rests on the banks of the Hudson River, sixty miles north of New York City. (Though we made the trip by car, the Metro-North train runs from Grand Central Terminal and stops a mere five-minute walk from the museum.) Since 2003, it has been home to massive works and installations by significant contemporary artists, including Andy Warhol, Agnes Martin and Richard Serra.
Much like Los Angeles’ Getty Museum, the space itself is a main attraction. Even the penetrating cold the gray skies imposed could not undermine the setting’s spectacular nature; the calm that overcame me as I stepped inside was intoxicating. And the vastness of its galleries permit art to be displayed on a scale unlike anything even remotely conceivable — in terms of both space and cost — in New York City. I was giddily dwarfed.
The art adorning the museum’s walls and floors proved just as breathtaking. Though it’s impossible to choose favorites, I was particularly dazzled by:
- Robert Smithson’s Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis), a floor mound of glacier-evoking shards of glass
- Andy Warhol’s Shadows, dozens of large canvases displayed side by side, each possessing the same thematic composition but executed in a different color
- Sol LeWitt’s Drawing Series, a dizzyingly painstaking group of wall-sized drawings in pencil
- Zoe Leonard’s You see I am here after all, a collection of thousands of vintage Niagara Falls postcards
(Note that the museum doesn’t allow photographs. Clicking on the links above will bring up images of these works.)
And just as we had begun traipsing through Richard Serra’s steel installation so colossal it might house a small village, nearby museum staff gently informed us that it was 6:00 p.m., and time to go.
As we made our way to Cafe Amarcord on Beacon’s main drag for dinner, I knew that we had all enjoyed a special Mother’s Day…which was followed by a night of very sound sleep.