Deep Station, 1981–85. Mixed media with sound, 135 x 240 x 288 in.

Donna Dennis: Home Away from Home

When Donna Dennis created her earnest, plain-spoken “Tourist Cabins” at the outset of her career, they had the impact of cultural icons. She was one of a number of sculptors fresh on the ’70s scene—including Alice Aycock and Jackie Ferrara—who pushed sculpture toward the domain of architecture. Almost all of the artists in this group dealt with structures relating to human shelter, but Dennis actually made architecture—American vernacular architecture—and transformed it into sculpture. Her groundbreaking work appeared in the Whitney Biennial, at the Tate Gallery, and other important spaces for the better part of two decades; she was represented by Holly Solomon for much of that period. However, during the 1990s, Dennis began to focus almost exclusively on teaching and public art projects. Now, she has returned more vigorously to her work, exhibiting at national and international venues—including a piece at the Genoa Biennale, a permanent installation in Miami, and a solo show in New York at five myles. The resurgence of Dennis’s work—with its piercing insights into our national character—comes at a curious point in world events, when America’s international presence speaks more to our collective temperament than our professed beliefs.