new-york

Agnes Denes

BravinLee Programs

Agnes Denes is perhaps best known for planting a two-acre wheat field at the southern tip of Manhattan in 1982, prior to the development of Battery Park City. An iconic photograph of the artist—waist-deep in golden sheaves, skyscrapers looming nearby—appears in several surveys of her career. But this work, of seemingly simple generosity (Denes harvested one thousand pounds of the crop that August and planted it around the globe), was pointedly titled Wheatfield—A Confrontation and can be understood as one of the first occasions on which Denes worked on a scale large enough and in a location public enough to suit her outsize ambition. The intervention represented, in the artist’s words, nothing less than “food, energy, commerce, world trade, economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger, and ecological concerns.”

By the time the Public Art Fund commissioned Wheatfield, Denes

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2007 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.