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Sari Dienes. Soho Sidewalk. c. 1953–55 38

Ink rubbing on Webril, 80 × 38 1/2" (203.2 × 97.8 cm). Acquired through the generosity of Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer and The Modern Women's Fund. © 2024 Estate of Sari Dienes/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Narrator: Have you ever rubbed a crayon over a piece of paper that’s laying on top of a leaf or a penny? You end up with a rubbing--a kind of scratchy, patchy image of whatever’s underneath. That’s what the artist, Sari Dienes, did here - except with ink on a roller. What do you think she was rolling over? Here are some sounds to give you a clue.

What do you think? Sounds like a busy street corner to me!

Sari’s idea was to make an artwork from something people hardly ever look at closely – the sidewalk. See all the little circles? You’ll find those on sidewalks in New York City – they’re a kind of window to let light into the basements of buildings. What else do you see? Cracks? A manhole cover? Turns out there’s a whole lot of interesting things under our feet. When you leave the Museum today, check out the sidewalk and see if you can spot some of these shapes!