Celebrated Artist Agnes Denes Will Create A Permanent "Poetry
Walk" At The University Of Virginia
12, 2000 -- American
artist and scholar Agnes Denes will bring the past, present and
future together, commemorating the millennium and the areas
rich heritage, in a permanent art installation, "Poetry Walk,"
at the University of Virginia. Installation of the project, which
will be located near Brooks Hall on the historic central Grounds
and will cover about 520 feet bordering on University Avenue, will
take place April 24 and 25, weather permitting.
first glance the project is simple and straightforward. Twenty granite
stones of various sizes and types, whose edges have been shaped,
will be laid flat into the ground. Into the stones will be carved
fragments of writings from Thomas Jefferson, poems of contemporary
and historical poets of the area, and writings from the history
of Virginia that resonate for the whole country.
in "Poetry Walk" will be a time capsule to be opened in
the year 3000. Inside will be placed more than 400 student responses
to a thought-provoking questionnaire created by Denes. Again, what
at first glance appears simple is in reality a complex probing of
human values and the relationship between the individual and society.
The 28 questions relate to our place in the universe from a physical,
psychological and spiritual perspective.
questions include: What do you consider humanitys most important
achievement? What is love? What do you think hate is? How do you
feel about death? Which do you think will prove more important for
humanity science or love? What is ultimate reality? What
would mean the greatest happiness to you? Do you think human evolution
is dependent on the further evolution and greater complexity of
working on a monumental scale, Denes is a visionary artist whose
concern for humankind and its place in the universe is at the center
of her artistic philosophy. Based in New York, she has had over
300 solo and group exhibits on four continents. Her awards and honors
include four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the prestigious
Eugene McDermott Achievement Award from MIT, the Watson Award from
Carnegie Mellon University, an honorary doctorate in fine arts for
her environmental responsibility from Ripon College in Wisconsin,
and the Prix de Rome in 1998, among others. She is the author of
four books, including "The Book of Dust The Beginning
and the End of Time and Thereafter."
her work, Denes says she creates "metaphors of our time"
which address global survival and explore time and human understanding.
She sees the role of the artist as "developing a new vision
in environmental art who works in many media, including drawing,
writing, music, sculpture, poetry and photography, she is one of
the first artists to be involved in conceptual art. Her first ecological
work, "Rice/Tree/Burial," explored mans relationship
to the forces of nature and is considered the first environmental
site work. In 1982 she planted and harvested a two-acre wheat field,
"Wheatfield A Confrontation," in Manhattans
financial district 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 mans commitment to the preservation of
writings on the stones in "Poetry Walk" were researched
by the artist and University of Virginia students from various disciplines.
Their research task was to uncover important moments in our past
and the essence of the areas heritage. In one of the stones
will be carved Deness art manifesto, which she wrote three
decades ago and in which she vowed to create "art in the service
a student organization whose purpose is to invite internationally
recognized artists to U.Va., chose Denes and her project to "bring
something to the University everyone can enjoy," said Nicole
Marin, Artsboard chair. "We want to give a gift. We want to
leave a mark."
Walk" is the only permanent installation of the "Hindsight/Foresight:
Art for the New Millennium" project sponsored by U.Va.s
Bayly Art Museum. It is partially funded by a grant from the National
Endowment of the Arts.
Baylys Millennium project will feature sight-specific art
responding to the areas rich history and Thomas Jeffersons
heritage. The 18 artists include Ann Hamilton, Michael Mercil, Dennis
Oppenheim, Lucio Pozzi, Daniel Reeves and Martha Jackson-Jarvis.
Projects will be at historic and commercial sites in the Charlottesville
more information or advance interviews contact Agnes Denes at (212)
966-0288 or by fax (212) 941-5484. Jill Hartz, director of the Bayly
Art Museum, may be reached at (804) 924-3592. Denes is expected
to be on site at some stages of the installation.
Jane Ford, (804) 924-4298