Closer to Life: The Work of Sari Dienes
Date of Award
Masters Research Paper
Art & Art History
Sari Dienes, Criticism and interpretation, Women artists, Art, American, 20th century
Like many of her female contemporaries, artist Sari Dienes’s contributions to the art historical dialogue have been largely overlooked in favor of her male counterparts. Often seen as a mentor and mother figure to neo-Dada artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Dienes was an active member of the New York avant-garde circle surrounding composer/choreographer duo John Cage and Merce Cunningham in the 1950s and 1960s. These social relationships are central to the existing discourse on Sari Dienes, while her work remains little discussed. The fact that her dynamic, ever-changing style lacked aesthetic consistency was commonly lamented by notable figures such as Betty Parsons, however, I argue that Dienes’s diverse oeuvre is unified by her philosophies on art and life. The unification of art and life, denoted clearly by Dienes’s use of the found object, experimentation and chance happenings, and sensory experience, marks her as an innovator and catalyst in the neo-Dada movement as well as in other experimental art endeavors that took place in the aftermath of Abstract Expressionism.
Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.
Metzger, Natalie McKinney, "Closer to Life: The Work of Sari Dienes" (2013). Art and Art History: Master's Research Papers. 326.