Sari Dienes Foundation

1960-1979

1960 – Exhibits mirror constructions in New Media, New Forms in Painting and Sculpture Part II at the Martha Jackson Gallery, New York.

1961 – Attends the premiere of Jackson Mac Low’s composition A Piece for Sari Dienes [listen here], performed by Mac Low, Joseph Byrd, Robert Dunn, Simone Forti, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Shimone Tomari and La Monte Young at Yoko Ono’s loft in New York. In May moves to the Gate Hill Cooperative, known informally as ‘The Land,’ a 116-acre community founded in 1954 by Paul and Vera Williams at Stony Point, New York, where she lives for the rest of her life. Her neighbors include George Ancona, John Cage, LaNoue Davenport, Karen Karnes, M.C. Richards, David Tudor, David Weinrib, and Johanna and Stan VanDerBeek. Over the next thirty years she constructs an elaborate landscape of driftwood, glass and scrap metal around her house. Participates in the exhibition The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (travels to the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Francisco Museum of Art).

1962 – Prints featured in the exhibition Hayter and Atelier 17 at Associated American Artists in New York along with a select group of artists chosen by Stanley William Hayter: Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock and Raoul Ubac. Works from the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s included in the exhibition Continuity and Change at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut.

1963 – Begins teaching woodblock printing at her home at Stony Point. Designs costumes for George Dennison’s play The Service for Joseph Axminster, directed by Lawrence Kornfeld at Judson Poets’ Theatre, New York, and sets for Aristophanes’s Congress of Women at the Cooper Union, New York. Mirror construction I Spy (now in the Corning Museum of Glass) reproduced on the cover of the July issue of Domus magazine. Mirror Collage #5 included in the exhibition Contemporary Wall Sculpture at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

1964 – Mixed-media installation A Surrounding at the Smolin Gallery, New York. Designs sets and costumes for Arthur Sainer’s play The Bitch of Waverly Place, directed by Stephen Aaron at Judson Poets’ Theatre, New York. Performs the role of Done-Wrong Girl in Hruslk, an opera by Dick Higgins and Philip Corner, at the Café Au Go Go, New York with Lette Eisenhauer, Al Hansen, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Mac Low, Norma Marder, Bill Myers, Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Yvonne Rainer and Florence Tarlow.

1965 – Recipient of a Ford Foundation grant for a residency and exhibition at Nobles County Art Center, Worthington, Minnesota. Makes rubbings of Native American petroglyphs near Worthington.

1966 – ‘Bottle Gardens’ included in the exhibition Recent Still Life at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Guest artist for the fall semester at Stout State University, Menomonie, Wisconsin.

1968 – Petroglyph rubbings exhibited at the Davidson Art Center, Weslyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. Creates sets for David Behrman’s performance Questions from the Floor, The Electric Circus, New York.

1969 – Death of her sister, Magda. Travels to London and Budapest with Heritage Fellowship. Proposes kinetic sound environment for Buckminster Fuller dome at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy.

1970 – Sculptor John Chamberlain casts Sari in the role of ‘Old Woman’ in a planned film entitled Zia, starring Warhol superstar Viva.

1971 – Meets Rip Hayman and Paco Underhill and becomes their housemate above the Ear Inn at 326 Spring Street, New York. Receives American Federation of the Arts grant for George Ancona’s film Painting in the Snow and a grant from the Mark Rothko Foundation. Textile designs included in Jack Lenor Larsen Retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

1972 – Begins experimenting with color photocopies. Performs Sole Painting at the Kitchen, New York. Provides visual effects for Erin Martin’s and Kei Takei’s Once Upon a Time… A Journey for Erin Martin Dance Company at the American Theatre Lab, New York.

1973 – Joins A.I.R., America’s first feminist cooperative gallery, where she exhibits until the end of her life. Her first show at the gallery includes Bone Fall, a cascade of bones collected over a twenty-five-year period. Contributes Spider Fall to the tenth Annual Avant Garde Festival organized by Charlotte Moorman. Proposes ‘Waffle Event’ using manhole covers as waffle irons to the Cultural Affairs Commission.

1974 – Exhibits for the first time with New York Professional Women Artists. Contributes Plant Fall to the eleventh Annual Avant Garde Festival organized by Charlotte Moorman.

1975 – Travels to India, Sri Lanka and Nepal with Rip Hayman on a three-month tour organized by the All India Music Association. Contributes a mixed-media installation Air Apparitions to the twelfth Annual Avant Garde Festival organized by Charlotte Moorman. Participates in the exhibitions Nine Artists at Work at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and Works on Paper organized by the Women in the Arts Foundation at the Brooklyn Museum. Performs India Transformed with Rip Hayman at the A.I.R. Gallery, New York. Poems published in Tracks – a Journal of Artists’ Writings.

1976 – Recipient of an International Women’s Year Award. Participates in the symposium Distinguished Women Artists, Their Past, Present & Future at the New School for Social Research. Performs Hearsayseeings with Rhys Chatham and Rip Hayman at the Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New York. The exhibition Recent Portraits of Sari Dienes at Buecker & Harpsichords in New York features portraits by Dick Higgins, Ray Johnson, Kiki Kogelnik, Alice Neel, Robert De Niro, Ed Plunkett, Stella Snead, and Andy Warhol.

1977 – Martha Edelheit’s film about Sari entitled Hats, Bottles, and Bones has its premiere screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Travels to Paris for the opening of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou. Buys the lease and operating license of the Ear Inn at 326 Spring Street, New York, which becomes an important venue for art events. Hosts a Performance Thanksgiving Dinner with Jean Dupuy, Geoffrey Hendricks, Jon Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, George Maciunas, Nam June Paik, and Yoshi Wada. Visiting lecturer at Parsons School of Design.

1978 – Participates in An Exhibition of Copy Machine Generated Art at the Hansen Galleries, New York. Alison Knowles, Jackson Mac Low and Charlie Morrow are among the performers at a concert to mark Sari’s eightieth birthday at the Ear Inn, New York. Performs Scrabble Chanting and Sole Dance with Jackson Mac Low and the S.E.M. Ensemble at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.

1979 – Residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, Virginia. Contributes to Alison Knowles’s work The House of Dust, exhibited at CalArts, Los Angeles and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Sari, early 1960s


Scorching wood, 1960s


Performance, Nobles County Art Center, Worthington, Minnesota, 1965


Postcard from Nam June Paik, 1970


Making a rubbing of the sidewalk in front of the Cedar Tavern, New York, 1970 – photos by Peter Moore © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, NY


Painting on snow, Stony Point, 1971 – photo by Peter Moore © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, NY


Demonstrating against exclusion of women artists from New York galleries, early 1970s


Maquette for kinetic sound environment Nowhere (TOYS), 1970s


‘Women Artists – Seventy Plus’ panel, Brooklyn Museum, 1975, l to r: June Blum (moderator), Alice Neel, Isabel Bishop, Sari, Lil Picard, Lilly Brody, Lois Mailou Jones – photo Maurice C. Blum


Easter Bonnet Parade, New York, c. 1976


With wood assemblage bedstead, 1976 – photo Laima Druskis


Stony Point, 1977 – photo Mies Hora


In her garden, Stony Point, 1970s – photo Sano


With Goddess of the Cowshed, 1979