“Rosemary Mayer and Donna Dennis: Beginnings on the Cusp of the 1970s New York City”

Lecture with Donna Dennis at Ludwig Forum Aachen

The American artists Rosemary Mayer and Donna Dennis became best friends when chance – and their individual connections to the New York poetry world – brought them to live/work spaces a block from one another in New York’s Little Italy around 1970. It was the most formative time in their young lives as artists: Inviting each other over for dinner and a look, when a new work was finished, was like a celebration and the best kind of competition.
In her lecture “Rosemary Mayer and Donna Dennis: Beginnings on the Cusp of the 1970s New York City”, Donna Dennis attempts to create a sense of what it was like to be young women artists just starting out in downtown New York in the heady, challenging early days of the 1970s. As a basis for this lecture serve excerpts from the journals, which Rosemary Mayer and Donna Dennis both used as a primary source for shaping their works, along with images of their work and their friends, especially those in their feminist consciousness-raising group.

Donna Dennis is known for her installations inspired by vernacular architecture, urban and rural: “Ship and Dock/Nights and Days or The Gazer”, at Lesley Heller Gallery, New York (2018), “Coney Night Maze”, Neuberger Museum (2013), “BLUE BRIDGE/red shift”, SculptureCenter (1993) “Deep Station”, Brooklyn Museum (1987) “Tourist Cabins on Park Avenue” (2007). Dennis has collaborated with poets Anne Waldman, Kenward Elmslie, Ted Berrigan and Daniel Wolff. Her work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Martin Z. Margulies Collection. Recipient of many grants and awards, she has permanent public art commissions in New York and Boston. After decades in New York City, she currently lives and works in the Hudson Valley.


Lecture with Donna Dennis at Ludwig Forum Aachen
Credit: Donna Dennis. Photo: private

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