April 28-May 4, 2000
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Bringing art to the surface
Researchers looking for causes of heart disease
Off the Shelf - recently published books by U.Va. faculty and staff
Onuf elucidates Jefferson's nation-making

All-University Outstanding Teaching Award winners

Q&A - Engineering Dean Richard Miksad
After Hours - On the roof or ground, Quillon takes chess to new heights
Faculty Actions from the April BOV meeting
In Memoriam
Hot Links - Cavalier Computers
ITC's Office Technology Conference to be held May 10
WFPA honors Sisson and Allen
Stephanie Gross
American 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 surface

By Jane Ford

At 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.

The 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.

Buried 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?

The 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 humanity."

Of 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.

A 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.

Artsboard, 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 a mark."

"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.


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