NYLM sponsors the Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art

The Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art, sponsored by the organization New York Loves Mountains and named in honor of pioneering environmental artist Ages Denes, will be awarded to an artist whose work has been or will be shown or performed in New York State between June 2014 and June 2015. This award is designed to recognize artists who are working with the intention to bring about awareness, discussion and action in response to current global, national, state or local environmental challenges. This award aims to support work that goes beyond grief, anger and irony to point to sustainable alternative practices and guiding ethos in realms such as urban planning, electrical systems, consumer resource use, transit, and energy politics. This award supports the idea that art is a crucial means of communication about contemporary environmental concerns in that it defies the current social tendency toward specialization at the cost of recognizing imbalances that affect all humans on multiple levels. This award will honor an artist who demonstrates unique vision and courage in concert with artistic skill and talent toward raising consciousness about humanity’s evolution toward truly sustainable principles and practice.

Amount of Award: $2,000

Eligibility: Any artistic work shown in New York State between June 2014 and June 2015. Submitted work may include an original song, a film or video, visual art, or a theatrical performance. Please send any queries about the eligibility of a piece to agnesdenesaward@gmail.com

To Apply for the Award

If you would like to apply for the Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art, please submit the following to agnesdenesaward@gmail.com no later than June 30, 2015:

  • A 300-500 word cover letter explaining the piece you’re submitting and the reason you feel it fits the criteria for the award
  • Application Form (posted at www.newyorklovesmountains.org)
  • 6-10 photos or a video (approximately 2 minutes in duration) providing an accurate and complete visual representation of your piece
  • Any relevant publicity or press surrounding the show or performance in which your piece appeared
  • A list corresponding to the images giving references to title/ description of works.


We also accept nominations for the award. Nominations may be emailed along with artist name, the title of the nominated work and the artist’s contact information to agnesdenesaward@gmail.com


The decision, made by a panel of artists with a final selection made by Agnes Denes, will be announced in October 2015.

About Agnes Denes:

A primary figure among the concept-based artists who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, Agnes Denes is internationally known for works created in a wide range of mediums. Investigating science, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, poetry, history, and music, Denes’s artistic practice is distinctive in terms of its aesthetics and engagement with socio-political ideas. As a pioneer of environmental art, she created Rice/Tree/Burial in 1968 in Sullivan County, New York which, according to the renowned art historian and curator Peter Selz, was “…the first large scale site-specific piece anywhere with ecological concerns.”

Her work Wheatfield – A Confrontation, which the scholar and curator Jeffrey Weiss has called “perpetually astonishing . . . one of Land Art’s great transgressive masterpieces” (Artforum, September 2008), is perhaps Denes’s best-known work. It was created during a four-month period in the spring and summer of 1982 when Denes planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of rubble-strewn landfill near Wall Street and the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (now the site of Battery Park City and the World Financial Center).Wheatfield is almost better known than the forests Agnes has planted in other parts of the world. The largest reclamation site in the world, Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule,of 11,000 trees is a 400-year project to create the world’s first manmade virgin forest. Other forest work includesA Forest for Australia,of 8000 trees in Melbourne, and a new forest she is in the process of creating for New York City. Her forests clean the air by absorbing carbon emissions, and clean fresh water for Earth’s growing population.

Works by Agnes Denes are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Kunsthalle Nürnberg and many other major institutions worldwide.

She has received numerous honors and awards including four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and four grants from the New York State Council on the Arts; the DAAD Fellowship, Berlin, Germany (1978); the American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award (1985); M.I.T’s highly prestigious Eugene McDermott Achievement Award “In Recognition of Major Contribution to the Arts” (1990); the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (1998); the Watson Trans-disciplinary Art Award from Carnegie Mellon University (1999); the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); and the Ambassador’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy for Strengthening the Friendship between the US and the Republic of Hungary through Excellence in Contemporary Art (2008). She lectures extensively worldwide and speaks at global conferences.

Denes is the author of six books and is featured in numerous other publications on a wide range of subjects in art and the environment, including the recentEco-Amazons: 20 Women Who are Transforming the World.She is currently in the process of planting 50,000 trees in New York City. A flowering pyramid she is creating at Socrates Park, also in New York, reminding us of the dynamics of nature, will open this April. Her exhibition “In the Realm of Pyramids: The Visual Philosophy of Agnes Denes” is on display at the Leslie Tonkonow Gallery in Manhattan now through May 9, 2015.

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