Donna Dennis: Poet in Three Dimensions Essay by Helaine Posner, Conversation with Donna Dennis, Rackstraw Downes, and Nicole Miller

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The first monograph on the architectural sculptor and installation artist and long-time collaborator with the New York School poets

Best known for creating large-scale installation work inspired by American vernacular architecture, Dennis finds beauty in places shaped by ordinary people, which become repositories for memory and feelings. Her seemingly familiar yet often darkly mysterious sites evoke memories, encourage reflection, and allude to the transient nature of life.

This book contextualizes Dennis’s work within contemporary art and the women’s movements and traces the arc of her career, tracing the evolution of her architectural sculpture over more than forty years, exploring her artistic collaborations with poets, and presenting her most recent work, a series of gouaches and dioramas, for the first time.

A conversation between Dennis and painter Rackstraw Downes brings to life the artist’s influences through her own words. With insightful text by feminist art scholar Helaine Posner, plus commentary from Dennis on the sources and process of creating the work, this book is an essential addition to the libraries of collectors and art historians interested in the architectural sculpture movement of the 1970s, and all those interested in feminism in art.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 289 × 213 mm (11.5 × 9.5 in)
  • Pages: 224 pp
  • Illustrations: 250 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781580936026

Helaine Posner, Chief Curator Emerita of the Neuberger Museum of Art, is the author of monographs on Kiki Smith and Louise Fishman and co-author of After the Revolution: Women Who Transformed Contemporary Art and of The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium.

Rackstraw Downes is an artist and author of Rackstraw Downes: Nature and Art Are Physical: Writings on Art, 1967-2008.

Nicole Miller's essays have appeared in Art in America and other national publications.