artist and scholar Agnes Denes brings the past, present and
future together, commemorating the millennium and the area's
rich heritage in the permanent art installation, "Poetry
Walk," near Brooks Hall. Covering about 520 feet bordering
on University Avenue, the project installation began April
24, but was delayed by rain.
Bringing art to the
first glance the project near Brooks Hall may appear simple and
straightforward -- 20 granite stones of various types and sizes
laid flat into the ground. Upon closer inspection, how- ever,
these stones should give passers-by pause. Carved into each one
are excerpts from the writings of Thomas Jefferson, poems by contemporary
and historical poets and writers of the area, and accounts from
the history of Virginia that resonate for the whole country.
written selections for "Poetry Walk," the name of the
permanent art installation, were researched by the artist, Agnes
Denes, and U.Va. students from various disciplines. "Their
task was to uncover important moments in our past and the essence
of the area's heritage," said Denes, an American artist and
scholar, whose own manifesto -- "art in the service of humanity"
-- will be carved into one of the stones.
under "Poetry Walk" will be a time capsule to be opened
in the year 3000. Inside will be more than 400 student responses
to a questionnaire Denes prepared. The 28 questions relate to
our place in the universe from a physical, psychological and spiritual
perspective, she said. They include: What do you consider humanity's
most important achievement? Which do you think will prove more
important for humanity science or love? What would mean the
greatest happiness to you? How do you feel about death?
art installation is a complex probing of human values and the
relationship between the individual and society, said Denes, who
sees the role of the artist as "developing a new vision for
her own work, Denes says she creates "metaphors of our time"
which address global survival and explore time and human understanding.
Based in New York, she has had over 300 solo and group exhibits
on four continents, often working on a monumental scale. Her awards
include four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the
1998 Prix de Rome. She is the author of four books, including
The Book of Dust The Beginning and the End of Time and Thereafter.
pioneer in environmental art, Denes works in many media, including
drawing, writing, music, sculpture, poetry and photography. In
1982, she planted and harvested two acres in Manhattan's financial
district, creating "Wheatfield A Confrontation" on
land worth $4.5 billion. Her work "Tree Mountain - A Living
Time Capsule," in Finland, celebrates the reclaiming of land
by creating a "virgin forest." Eleven thousand people
planted 11,000 trees, which will be protected for 400 years, to
affirm man's commitment to the preservation of the planet.
a U.Va. student organization that invites internationally recognized
artists to the Grounds, chose Denes and her project to "bring
something to the University everyone can enjoy," said Artsboard
chair Nicole Marin. "We want to give a gift. We want to leave
"Poetry Walk" is the only permanent installation of
the "Hindsight/Foresight: Art for the New Millennium"
project, sponsored by the Bayly
Art Museum. The project will feature site-specific art responding
to the area's rich history and Jefferson's heritage. Eighteen
artists are participating at historic and commercial sites in
the Charlottesville area, including Ann Hamilton, Michael Mercil,
Dennis Oppenheim, Lucio Pozzi, Daniel Reeves and Martha Jackson-Jarvis.