New York

Agnes Denes

Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

What do you want out of life? Why not more? Which do you think will prove ultimately more important to humanity—science or love? What is love? These were some of the questions that Agnes Denes asked students in the late 1970s, their answers forming part of the second iteration of her 1968 piece Rice/Tree/Burial, 1977–79. The responses were then buried in a time capsule, as the “burial” component of the tripartite project. These kinds of questions—the “big ones”—are the ones that Denes’s art implicitly asks. Ever since she arose alongside (though distinct from) Land art in the ’60s, Denes’s environmental actions and intimidatingly precise ink drawings have attempted to reconcile the precision of science with the sloppiness of human emotion. Denes’s art is a combination of farming, environmental ethics (“eco-logic,” in her phrase), a philosophically driven faith in triangulation, and clear,

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