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Mary Lucier, NA + Donna Dennis, NA In Conversation

  • VOLTA New York | Pier 90 West 50th St and 12th Ave New York, NY 10036 (map)

The Academy will host free, salon-style discussions that pair National Academicians with fellow members, collaborators, and new media professionals, and give fair attendees the opportunity to hear from the artists themselves about their influences and processes.

Mary Lucier (b. 1944) NA 2015  Summer , or  Grief (Anticipation of a Death)  1998, reworked in 2018 Single-channel 8 mins Courtesy of the Artist

Mary Lucier (b. 1944)
NA 2015
Summer, or Grief (Anticipation of a Death)
1998, reworked in 2018
8 mins
Courtesy of the Artist

National Academicians and installation artists Mary Lucier and Donna Dennis will discuss Lucier’s impressive body of work and long history in video installation, including Summer, or Grief (Anticipation of a Death), on display in Into the Horizon, the National Academy’s exhibition hall at VOLTA. Long time friends, Lucier is known as a pioneer in video installation, having worked in it since the early 1970s, and having had a hand in developing some of the innovative aspects of the new medium. Dennis has worked in sculptural installation since the early 1970s, creating large, architecturally-inspired works that include sound and light. Last year, she added video to a work for the first time. The work of both Dennis and Lucier has been described as poetic, Romantic, theatrical, and involved in the mythical. In a wide-ranging and open-ended conversation, they will explore such topics as structure as container for video and sound, video and sound as animator of structure, the use of narrative, as well as their personal histories as artists. Both born in Ohio and longtime residents of New York City, they will discuss childhood experiences with art, influences on them as young artists, the impact of the Women’s Movement on their lives and work, collaboration with artists in other fields–Lucier has collaborated with choreographers and composers; Dennis with poets and performance artists–the impact of landscape and narrative on their work, the process of making a work from conception to execution, and what is like to be in a position to look back on over four decades of creating innovative art.

Mary Lucier, NA
Mary Lucier (NA 2015) has been known for her contributions to the form of multi-monitor, multi-channel video installation since the early 1970s. After studying sculpture and literature at Brandeis University she became involved in photography and performance and traveled extensively with the Sonic Arts Union for several years, collaborating with composers Alvin Lucier and Robert Ashley in concerts throughout the US and Europe. Since 1971, her mixed-media video work has consistently explored the theme of landscape as a metaphor for loss and regeneration and, more recently, trauma as experienced and articulated in more obliquely narrative modes. In this time, Lucier has also produced a significant body of single-channel pieces which have been screened in museums and festivals worldwide. Her video work has been shown in major museums around the world where it now resides in numerous collections, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Reina Sofia, the Stedelijk Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Over the years, she has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, notably Anonymous Was a Woman, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital, USA Artists, and the Japan-US Friendship Commission. She has recently been involved in reviving and revising select older works for a contemporary contextfor example a recent installation of Color Phantoms with Automatic Writing, 1972/2015, with the late Robert Ashley at The Kitchen, and Equinox, 1979/2016, at the Sculpture Center in an exhibition called Before Projection: Video Sculpture, 1974 – 1995.

Donna Dennis, NA
Donna Dennis (NA 2010) is known for her complex sculptural installations that draw inspiration from vernacular architecture. Her many solo exhibition venues include the Neuberger Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Indianapolis Museum, and Holly Solomon Gallery. Her work is in prominent collections including the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, Germany, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Neuberger Museum and the Martin Z. Margulies Collection. She has completed several permanent public art commissions including one at John F. Kennedy Airport. She is the recipient of many grants and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, several National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants. In 2012, she received the Artists’ Legacy Foundation Award; in 2014, the Merit Award in Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and in 2015, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Ship and Dock/Nights and Days or The Gazer, a new installation Dennis exhibited at Lesley Heller Gallery in New York in 2018, marked her first use of video.

Purchase tickets for the fair here.


Frances Barth, NA + Rebecca Cleman In Conversation
Thursday, March 7, 2019 — 4:00 p.m.

Elizabeth King, NA + Mike Belzer In Conversation
Friday, March 8, 2019 — 4:00 p.m.