In the late 1960s, artist Donna Dennis began keeping a journal, a practice that chronicled her daily life and the work of making art. Animated, self-searching, and direct, these journals document her struggle to find her distinctive feminist approach to art; her heady downtown crowd of lovers and friends; her emerging political consciousness; and her growing confidence in her own work, marked by her fevered arrival at the 1982 Venice Bienniale.
This volume of selected journals traces the early development of a major American artist, from an uncertain painter to a sculptor of complex architectural installations. Beginning with her early false front hotels, Dennis has developed a sculptural vocabulary that renders familiar architectural forms in terms both mythic and deeply personal. These selected journals offer insight into her process, while paying tribute to the collective energies of downtown New York. With her contemporaries—including Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Kenward Elmslie, Gerard Malanga, Rosemary Mayer, and Adrian Piper—Dennis took part in a period of rapid social, economic, and political change. Writing Toward Dawn illuminates the collaborations, experiments, dancing, and grassroots organizing among a creative avant-garde. Forthcoming from Bamberger Books.