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Agnes Denes

Agnes DenesDescription : Agnes Denes (Dénes Ágnes; Budapest, 1931) is a Hungarian-born American conceptual artist based in New York. She is known for works in a wide range of media - from poetry and philosophy writings, to complex hand and computer rendered diagrams (which she terms Visual Philosophy), sculpture, and international environmental installations, such as Wheatfield -- A Confrontation (1982), a two-acre wheatfield in downtown Manhattan.Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1931, her family survived the Nazi occupa... Page:a

Agnes Denes
Born1931 (age 83–84)
Budapest, Hungary
NationalityAmerican
EducationNew School, Columbia University
Notable workVisual Philosophy, Wheatfield, Tree Mountain
MovementConceptual Art
Websitehttp://www.agnesdenesstudio.com/

Agnes Denes (Dénes Ágnes; Budapest, 1931) is a Hungarian-born American conceptual artist based in New York. She is known for works in a wide range of media - from poetry and philosophy writings, to complex hand and computer rendered diagrams (which she terms Visual Philosophy), sculpture, and international environmental installations, such as Wheatfield -- A Confrontation (1982), a two-acre wheatfield in downtown Manhattan.

Biography and Early Career

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1931, her family survived the Nazi occupation and moved to Sweden in the mid-1940s. As a teenager, they relocated again to the United States. She has said that the repeated change in language caused her to focus on the visual arts - having "suddenly been silenced." She studied painting at the New School and Columbia University in New York, and exhibited and sold some of her work. She soon abandoned painting, due to the constraints of the canvas, and focused broadly on ideas she could explore in other mediums. "I found its vocabulary limiting"

She has since participated in more than 450 exhibitions at galleries and museums throughout the world, and has written 6 books. At some point in the late 1960s-1970s, she was married and has one son, Robert T. Frankel.

Selected works

What ties it all together is Ms. Denes’s insistence on marrying ambitious intellectual ideas with exquisite formal execution. In contrast to many of her conceptual and land-art peers, she has always been deeply involved with drawing.

— Carol Kino, New York Times.

Ecological

In the history of art there have been a few artists’ artists—individuals who have emphasized in their work the raising of provocative questions and who have also tested the limits of art by taking it into new, unforeseen areas and by using it for distinctly new functions. Agnes Denes is one of these special artists.

— Art historian Robert Hobbs, 1992
Rice/Tree/Burial 1968, Eco-Logic, Sullivan County, New York; re-created 1977 at Artpark
As a pioneer of Land Art, Agnes Denes created Rice/Tree/Burial in 1968 in Sullivan County, New York. Acknowledged as the first site-specific performance piece with ecological concerns, it was enacted ten years later on an expanded scale at Artpark in Lewiston, New York. This performance piece involved planting rice seeds in a field in upstate New York, chaining surrounding trees and burying a time capsule filled with copies of her haiku. “It was about communication with the earth,” Ms. Denes said, “and communicating with the future.”"
Wheatfield -- A Confrontation, 1982, by Agnes Denes.jpg
Wheatfield, a Confrontation 1982 Manhattan, Battery Park City landfill
Arguably her best known work. It was created during a six-month period in the spring, summer, and fall 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).
Tree Mountain-a living time capsule 1996, Ylöjärvi, Finland
A monumental earthwork reclamation project and the first man-made virgin forest, situated in Ylöjärvi, Western Finland. The site was dedicated by the President of Finland upon its completion in 1996 and is legally protected for the next four hundred years.
A Forest for Australia reforestation of Red Gum, She Oak, and Paperbark trees in Melbourne Australia 1998
6000 trees of an endangered species with varying heights at maturity were planted into five spirals by the artist, creating a step pyramid for each spiral when the trees are fullgrown. The trees help alleviate serious land erosion and desertification threatening Australia.
Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie Master Plan, 2000
A 25-year master plan to unite a 100 kilometer-long string of forts dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Incorporating water and flood management, urban planning, historical preservation, landscaping, and tourism into a single plan.
North Waterfront Park Masterplan, Berkeley, California, 1988-91. Site plan and art concept.
A conceptual masterplan was developed for the conversion of a 97-acre municipal landfill, surrounded by water on three sides in the San Francisco Bay, into an oasis for people and nature.
The Living Pyramid, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY, 2015.
One in a series of large earth sculptures, The Living Pyramid, is the first Denes sculpture in New York City in over 3 decades. Sculpture is scheduled from May - August 2015.

Visual Philosophy

Ms. Denes as a highly original thinker and visualizer whose work rewards the close attention it demands. -Grace Glueck, New York Times.

Agnes Denes drawings in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution Museums

Beginning in 1968, she began an intensive exploration of philosophy through art. The result was "an amazing body of work, distinguished by its intellectual rigor, aesthetic beauty, conceptual analysis, and environmental concern." -Jill Hartz, retrospective editor, Cornell University

  • Paradox and Essence (Philosophical Drawings), 1976, Published by Tau/ma Press, Rome, Italy, in English and Italian. Edition of 200; 60 pages
  • Sculptures of the Mind, 1976, Published by the University of Akron Press, Akron, Ohio. Edition of 1,000, 250 signed and numbered; 50 pages
  • Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space: Map Projections (from the Study of Distortions Series, 1973-1979), 1979. Published by Visual Studies Workshop Press, Rochester, New York. Edition of 200 hardback copies in silver foil, signed and numbered by the artist; edition of 600 in paperback; 100 pages, color and black and white throughout, 29 original drawings specially created for the book, 22 transparent pages.
  • Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space-Map Projections, The Doughnut (tangent torus) By Agnes Denes, 1980.jpeg
  • Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space-Map Projections, The Pyramid, By Agnes Denes, 1980.jpeg
  • Study of Distortions; Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space-Map Projections, The Cube, By Agnes Denes, 1978.jpeg

Original drawings for Isometric Systems, from the Museum of Modern Art Collection

  • Early Philosophical Drawings, Monoprints, and Sculpture 1970-1973

Sculpture

A gallery exhibition can only suggest how far and wide the polymathic Ms. Denes has ranged over material and mental worlds during the past four decades. It would take a full-scale museum retrospective to do that.

— Ken Johnson, New York Times 2012
  • Sculptures of the Mind 1968-2012 [1] See gallery website for 10 images of pieces in the exhibit.

Writing

  • See three titles under Visual Philosophy, above.
  • Book of Dust: The Beginning and the End of Time and Thereafter 1989 Published by Visual Studies Workshop Press, Rochester, New York. Edition of 1,100 of which 200 are signed with an original artwork. Insert ("The Debate - 1 Million B.C. - 1 Million A.D.); 200 pages, 16 full-page duotones [2]
  • The Human Argument, 2008 Spring Publications, Putnam, Connecticut.
  • Poetry Walk—Reflections: Pools of Thought, 2000 Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Art Museum.[3]

Retrospective Cataloges

  • Agnes Denes: Perspectives, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1974 [4]
  • Agnes Denes: Sculptures of the Mind / Philosophical Drawings by Amerika Haus Berlin, 1978
  • Agnes Denes 1968 -1980, Gary Garrels curator, Hayden Gallery, MIT, Boston, 1980
  • Agnes Denes: Concept into Form, Works : 1970-1990, Arts Club of Chicago, 1990
  • Agnes Denes by Jill Hartz, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 1992 [5]
  • The Visionary Art of Agnes Denes: An Exhibition of 85 Works, Gibson Gallery, 1996 [6]
  • Project for Public Spaces, a Retrospective, Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA; 2003

Public Collections

  • The Museum of Modern Art, has 14 pieces in the permanent collection.
  • The Metropolitan Museum has 5 pieces in the permanent collection.
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art has 3 pieces in the permanent collection.
  • An additional 43 public museums include pieces in their permanent collections

She is represented by Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York.

Awards

Four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; Four grants from the New York State Council on the Arts; The DAAD Fellowship, Berlin, Germany (1978); American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award (1985); Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT (1990); Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (1998); Jill Watson Award for Transdisciplinary Achievement in the Arts from Carnegie Mellon University (1999); Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); Ambassador’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy (2008) from the American Embassy in Hungary.

External links

  • Video: Agnes Denes at the Creative Time Summit 2010 on YouTube [7]
  • Video: Radical Nature - Environmental Activism, at Barbican Centre, London on YouTube Interview of Denes, images of Wheatfield [8]
  • Video: Decoys, Complexes, and Triggers - Exhibition at SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY. on YouTube [9]
  • Agnes Denes at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects Representative Gallery for Agnes Denes
  • Agnes Denes: Sculptures of the Mind: 1968 to Now, Exhibition Site at Leslie Tonkonow Gallery Nov 15, 2012 - Jan 19, 2013
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