‘Fifty Years of Dia’

Digital Design, Campaigns, Data Driven Design

An interactive timeline and campaign celebrates Dia Art Foundation’s 50th birthday.

Dia Art Foundation is one of the country’s most distinctive arts organizations. Known for its specific emphasis on postwar contemporary art, Dia is a constellation of museums, commissions, long-term installations, and site-specific projects, notably focused on land art, nationally and internationally. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Dia commissioned Pentagram to create a new interactive timeline and advertising campaign. The timeline can be explored at

Featuring over 100 events that span the past 50 years, the digital timeline traverses exhibitions, locations, projects, partnerships, and programs that come to life through photographs, videos, and ephemera—many of which are sourced from Dia’s extensive archive and have never been seen before. The user is invited to explore this archive, and with it the major moments of Dia’s pathbreaking legacy. The timeline was created in collaboration with AREA 17. 

Pentagram began the project by exploring Dia’s unique relationship with time. Much of the museums’ collection features time in some way: land art that responds to the changing of the seasons; room-sized installations meant to be on permanent view; durational performance art. Using this context as a base, how could Dia’s own history be explored? Pentagram designed a user experience which organizes the content chronologically on a single vertical continuum, while providing ample opportunity for non-linear exploration and discovery. A secondary navigation panel categorizes events into key sub-themes, allowing the user to understand how multiple moments across Dia’s impressive history have contributed to a larger story. 

“Dia is an organization like no other, with a fascinating history. This website will give our audiences an opportunity to dive deep into our relationships with artists, iconic artworks realized with Dia’s support, understand our founding mission and how it informs Dia to this day, and much more. I am particularly pleased that, for the first time, we are able to share some of our rich archive, which has not been publicly available until now. I can think of no better way to mark 50 years of Dia,” said Jessica Morgan, Dia’s Nathalie de Gunzburg Director.

The visual design is also uniquely Dia. The interface is intentionally minimalist, nodding to Dia’s existing branding and its rich holdings in minimalist art. Use of subtle opacities refers to Dia’s relationship with light and space and also mimics the iconic frosted windows found at Dia Beacon, one of the institution’s most popular locations. At first glance, photo captions are also missing—at Dia, art is presented without wall text, and the design team sought to replicate this effect digitally (for those who want them, captions are revealed on hover). 

Pentagram also designed a special anniversary logo for the institution, along with an accompanying advertising campaign titled “Fifty Years Of….” A full-page ad in The Art Newspaper with the headline “Fifty Years of Supporting Artists” depicts a dramatic scene of Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field, one of Dia’s sites, echoing a similar photo famously used on the cover of Artforum in 1980.

New York
Giorgia Lupi
Project team
Phillip Cox
Madeleine Garner
Ed Ryan
Ariana Gupta
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