Agnes Denes

Agnes Denes Wheatfield - A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan (composite), 1982/2014 Archival pigment print 30 x 40 inches

Wheatfield – A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan (composite), 1982/2014
Archival pigment print
30 x 40 inches

“My work ranges between individual creation and social consciousness.  It addresses the challenges of global survival and is often monumental in scale. I plant forests on abused land, and grow fields of grain in the heart of megacities.  These works are intended to help the environment and benefit future generations with a meaningful legacy.My environmental works include: Wheatfield — A Confrontation, a 2-acre wheatfield planted and harvested in Manhattan’s financial district on land worth $4.5 billion, in order to make a statement about misplaced priorities.The philosophy behind my work is to create intelligent and beautiful works of art that educate people and earn their place in the public arena by making people feel good about themselves and their surroundings. My work speaks to people from all walks of life creating a strong impact that becomes identified with the site, building or neighborhood, giving it special identity.”

A primary figure among the concept-based artists who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, Agnes Denes is internationally known for works created in a wide range of mediums. A pioneer of several art movements, she is difficult to categorize. Investigating science, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, poetry, history, and music, Denes’s artistic practice is distinctive in terms of its aesthetics and engagement with socio-political ideas. As a pioneer of environmental art, she created Rice/Tree/Burial in 1968 in Sullivan County, New York which, according to the renowned art historian and curator Peter Selz, was “probably the first large scale site-specific piece anywhere with ecological concerns.”

Wheatfield – A Confrontation, which the scholar and curator Jeffrey Weiss, has called “perpetually astonishing . . . one of Land Art’s great transgressive masterpieces” (Artforum, September 2008) is perhaps Agnes Denes’s best-known work. It was created during a four-month period in the spring and summer of 1982 when Denes, with the support of the Public Art Fund, planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of rubble-strewn landfill near Wall Street and the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (now the site of Battery Park City and the World Financial Center).

From Outrage to Action: Proposals for Climate, Resources and Planet 

Agnes Denes  •  Ismail Ferdous  •  Gideon Mendel    Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), Max Liboiron, Director  •   Mark Read and Grayson Earle •  Louise Harpman,  Architecture and Urban Design LAB 2017 sponsored by Global Design NYU •   Mary Mattingly • nadahadaThe Yes Men