Fire at Dia:Beacon Damages Million Dollar Mary Corse Painting

Art Standard Time | Mary Corse

A fire at Dia:Beacon broke out on Saturday caused by an overheated electrical component of an artwork ignited on the first floor of the museum.  No injuries were reported as the fire was put out within 30 minutes. A work by Mary Corse that contained the source of the fire was damaged. 

Since the mid-1960s, Corse has experimented with different ways to physically imbue her paintings with light. Her techniques have included the use of materials that project, reflect, and refract, such as electric light, glazed ceramic tiles, and retroreflective glass beads. These materials, which respond to their environmental conditions, are applied in simple configurations, using the logic of the grid as an organizing principle. Corse is known for her work within the Light and Space Movement. Centered largely in California, the movement emerged in the 1960s as an offshoot of conceptual art, one that attempted to understand artwork as a function of sensory perception.

Hannah Gompertz, director of communications and marketing for the Dia Art Foundation, said:

"A small, contained fire broke out in one of our galleries at Dia:Beacon at the end of the day on Saturday, October 20. The fire appears to have been caused by an electrical element attached to a work of art by Mary Corse that overheated. The building was immediately evacuated, and no one was injured. The Corse galleries will be reopened tomorrow with the work in question deinstalled. All other Corse works in these galleries will remain on view."


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