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Initially part of the architectural sculpture movement of the early 1970s, Donna Dennis is best known for her complex sculptural installations with sound.


Dennis is one of a small group of groundbreaking women—including Alice Aycock, Jackie Ferrara and Mary Miss—who pushed sculpture toward the domain of architecture in the early 1970s. Deborah Everett writes in Sculpture Magazine “When Donna Dennis created her earnest, plain-spoken Tourist Cabins at the outset of her career, they had the impact of cultural icons.” Drawing from overlooked fragments of rural and urban vernacular American architecture, her sculptures—tourist cabins, hotels, subway stations, roller coasters—have represented stopping places on the journey through life.

Dennis has received solo exhibitions at The Brooklyn Museum, the Neuberger Museum, the Sculpture Center, and Holly Solomon Gallery, among others. Her work has also appeared in group exhibitions including the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennal, the National Academy Museum, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Walker Art Center, MOMA P.S. 1, Tate Gallery, ICA London, and Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst, among others. A frequent collaborator, Dennis has worked with poets Anne Waldman, Kenward Elmslie, Daniel Wolff and Ted Berrigan and with performance artist/puppeteer Dan Hurlin. 

Donna Dennis’s work is in prominent collections including the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Microsoft Collection, the Walker Art Center, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, Germany, the Indianapolis Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Neuberger Museum, and the Martin Z. Margulies Collection. Permanent public art commissions are located at John F. Kennedy Airport, P.S. 234, Queens College, and at the Wonderland MBTA Station in Boston. Grants and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, several National Endowment Fellowships, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants.

In recent years she received the prestigious Artists’ Legacy Foundation Award, the Merit Award in Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. She was elected to the National Academy of Design in 2010 and is Professor Emerita at Purchase College, SUNY. She lives and works in Germantown, New York.


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