Sami Siegelbaum on Agnes Denes' work "Wheatfield – A Confrontation"

November 7, 2019 | 7:00pm TO 9:00pm
2019-11-07 19:00:00 2019-11-07 21:00:00 Sami Siegelbaum on Agnes Denes' work "Wheatfield – A Confrontation" <p>Siegelbaum revisits Agnes Denes' seminal work,&nbsp;<em>Wheatfield - A Confrontation.</em></p> America/Los_Angeles public

At a time when most working class residents find it difficult to afford the cost of housing in major American cities, it is worth revisiting a moment in the early years of this process. During the summer of 1982, artist Agnes Denes planted, tended, and harvested two acres of wheat on a portion of land fill in Lower Manhattan created by the construction of the World Trade Center and Battery Park City. The work, Wheatfield - A Confrontation, brought the legacy of 1970s Land Art into contact with rampant urban development occuring in the midst of a real estate speculation boom. Siegelbaum situates Wheatfield within the historical moment of the financialization of the global economy and its effects on real estate, agriculture, and art in New York. He argues that the "confrontation" staged by Wheatfield is also a key to understanding more recent and local controversies over gentrification and art's role within them.

Sami Siegelbaum is a Los Angeles-based art historian whose research focuses on the intersections between art and labor in Modern and Contemporary art. This talk is part of a larger project about artists’ responses to the economic shifts of the 1970s. 

This program is made possible by the Remsen Bird Fund and the Arts and Urban Experience Initiative, which is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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A wheatfield from a low angle with a skyline in the background