Sari Dienes at the New Garner Art Center March 11-April 23, 2023


March 1st, 2023

GRAND OPENING of Building 35 at GARNER Arts Center

Artist Reception: Saturday, March 11 from 5-7PM

  • Exhibition Run: March 11-April 23
  • Gallery Hours: Fridays, 2-5PM, Saturdays and Sundays 1-5PM

WHERE: Building 35 within the GARNER Historic District, 55 West Railroad Avenue, Garnerville, NY 10923
CONTACT: Jesse Heffler, Programs & Operations Director, (845) 947-7108;

On August 8, 2011 Hurricane Irene brought catastrophic flooding to the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center and the non-profit GARNER Arts Center gallery housing the Sari Dienes’ Retrospective exhibition. The gallery collapsed and half of the exhibition was lost.

Now, twelve years later, GARNER Arts Center is pleased to announce the grand opening of its new gallery, Building 35, a magnificent state-of-the-art exhibition space and regional Visitors Center, with a two-woman show featuring a new exhibition of the groundbreaking artworks of Sari Dienes and new artworks by the contemporary Haitian American artist, Vladimir Cybil Charlier.  In addition, the works of photographer Ned Harris, namesake of the Harris Gallery in Building 35, will be on display in the Visitor Center @35 for the grand opening exhibitions.

The Artists Opening will be held on Saturday, March 11 from 5-7pm. Restoration of Building 35 was made possible with the substantial support of a FY2019 Facilities Improvement Mid-Size Capital Project grant award from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and New York State Legislature through New York State’s Consolidated Funding program.

During a career that spanned over six decades, artist Sari Dienes* (1898-1992) worked in a wide range of media, creating paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, textile designs, sets and costumes for theater and dance, sound-art installations, mixed-media environments, music and performance art. In the late 1940’s Dienes met and began a lifelong friendship with composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham. She established herself in the epicenter of the art world during the 1950s, mentoring and influencing artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, and was close friends with Mark Rothko, Ray Johnson, and a myriad of others. Dienes’s work will be displayed in the Harris Gallery in Building 35.

* About the Sari Dienes exhibition: “Armed with an ink roller, she mapped her urban haunts as well as her body’s movement; uneven and ghostly skeins of pigment document her repetitive application of a standard-size brayer across the surface. Dienes placed drawing at the center of her practice while simultaneously challenging traditionally held views about the medium.”(Text excerpt from Sari Dienes 2014 solo exhibition at The Drawing Center, NYC, New York.

The exhibition at GARNER Arts Center focuses on Dienes’s work from the early 1950s and traces her evolution when she rejected her formal training to begin experimenting with new materials and techniques – a shift in her practice from surrealistic painting and drawing, past abstract expressionism, suggesting the beginnings of Pop Art and seminal in the Neo Dada movement. She developed “rubbings,” layering surface textures of urban manhole covers and sidewalks as well as assemblages of found objects.

“But more than a change of technique, a conceptual shift was occurring in Dienes’ work. She was at the cusp of something new; her innovative use of materials, scale and everyday environmental sources was in keeping with what a younger generation of American artists were beginning to approach. The art-historical implications of Dienes’ frottage works are more significant than has been acknowledged.” (Sid Sachs: Sari Dienes Who I Am?!  Sari Dienes Foundation 2022, p. 32 edited by Barbara Pollitt).

Now within the GARNER Historic District of New York, the new GARNER Arts Center honors the work of the Sari Dienes Foundation which continues to promote, preserve and research the legacy of Sari Dienes and celebrates the publication of the new book, Sari Dienes: Who I Am?!, Commentaries on her Life and Art, edited by Barbara Pollitt.

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