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Agnes Denes, Napoleonic Series II: Investigation of World Rulers—Some More Napoleons Overlooking the Elba, 1971, fingerprinting ink and colored ink on gr

Agnes Denes

Agnes Denes, Napoleonic Series II: Investigation of World Rulers—Some More Napoleons Overlooking the Elba, 1971, fingerprinting ink and colored ink on gr

WHEN AGNES DENES planted and harvested almost one thousand pounds of wheat in what is now New York’s Battery Park City, the action—and the astonishing photographs showing the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty looming over the endless golden grain—cemented her reputation as an unconventional Land artist and environmental visionary. In becoming her signature piece, however, Wheatfield—A Confrontation, 1982, has also somewhat obscured the complexity of her long career. From the literally germinal work of eco-art Rice/Tree/Burial, 1968–79, through her more recent plans for the reclamation and renewal of the Netherlands’ Waterline (a fifty-mile string of fortifications dating to the seventeenth century), Denes has demonstrated a powerful commitment to the environment. But just as intrinsic to her practice is an exploration of the interplay between manifestation

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