Dia Art Foundation showcases ambitious visual art, especially large and unusual works that might not otherwise find a home given the space constraints of the city. The permanent collection consists almost wholly of works from 1960 through 1980. Dia's curators believe that this period—with its dominant forms of pop art, minimalism, conceptual art and earth works—is as essential to understanding late 20th-century art as modernism is to understanding art in the first half of the 20th century.
Dia also has two permanent exhibitions in Manhattan: The New York Earth Room by Walter De Maria, at 141 Wooster Street (between Houston and Prince Streets), 2nd floor, which consists of a single 3,500-square-foot spaced filled with soil to a depth of 22 inches, and The Broken Kilometer, also by De Maria, at 393 West Broadway (between Spring and Broome Streets). Dia also offers literary readings, lectures and symposiums at its location on 535 West 22nd Street.
In May 2003, the Dia Art Foundation opened Dia: Beacon Riggio Galleries, a vast new museum in Beacon, New York. The space houses Dia's important but rarely shown permanent collection of work by artists who emerged during the 1960s and 1970s and defined a new generation of art, including Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra, Sol LeWitt and Andy Warhol, among others. The artist Robert Irwin collaborated with the design firm OpenOffice to transform a 250,000 square-foot factory into a complex exhibition space surrounded by landscaped grounds.
Guided visits for teachers and students of all ages are available. Junior high school teachers may also participate in the Arts Education Program, a year-long series of workshops with artists, writers, art historians and other educators. After several months of presentations and visits, teachers begin a similar series of workshops at their respective schools, where they strive to challenge and engage the minds of their students through contemporary visual art and literature.