NYLM sponsors the Agnes Denes Award for Environmental Art

Agnes Denes walks in her land art piece Wheatfield - A Confrontation in lower Manhattan, 1984
Agnes Denes walks in her land art piece Wheatfield - A Confrontation in lower Manhattan, 1984

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 includes A 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 recent Eco-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.

On Patriot Coal's Decision to Phase Out its Mtn. Top Removal Mines

Monday November 26, 2012

On November 15, 2012, America learned the stunning news that Patriot Coal, Sierra Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition had reached a landmark agreement to phase out Patriot Coal’s mountaintop removal mining operations.


New York Loves Mountains, which has advocated since 2008 for cutting New York’s support of mountaintop removal, applauds this historic agreement and its authors.


For the first time ever, a coal company has publicly admitted to the involuntary, unacceptable harm caused by mountaintop removal to innocent families and communities.


Patriot Coal's executives have done what other executives of America's Appalachian coal industry need to do: own up to the tragic, devastating harm caused to innocent American citizens from mountaintop removal operations.


Mountaintop removal has cracked wells, poisoned the well water of rural mountain homes, and despoiled valuable land and property both adjacent to, and miles away from, the site of coal extraction.


New York, which has imported less and less mountaintop removal coal since 2005, is on the right track. We at New York Loves Mountains will continue to talk to fellow New Yorkers about choosing a path for future growth statewide that embraces our Appalachian neighbors and respects the land from which we all benefit.


NYLM Member Annalyse McCoy Releases New CD and Music Video with Band 2/3 Goat

Fronted by lead singer Annalyse McCoy, "2/3 Goat's fusion of folk, blues, rock, and country summons the likes of Cash & Carter with a contemporary spin, and echoes their diverse roots."


New York Loves Mountains was honored to speak on behalf of our organization at 2/3 Goat's concert at Bowery Electric on Sunday, Nov. 20th.


See the music video on our home page!

Larry Gibson in Rev. Billy's Church of Earthalujah

On Sunday, September 25th at 80 St. Mark's Place, Larry Gibson, leading activist in the movement to end mountaintop removal and founder of Keepers of the Mountains, appeared in Rev. Billy's all-new show. Find out more here: http://revbilly.com/events/earthalujah-show


New York Loves Mountains members Sue Rosenberg, Laura Scheinkopf, Annalyse McCoy and Amber Gayle Myers all marched on Blair Mountain in June to lend their voices to those calling for Blair to be preserved by the National Registry of Historic Places. Blair is the site of the largest labor uprising in U.S. history and the only instance in which the U.S. military dropped bombs on its own citizens. The march brought together union miners, environmentalists and descendents of the historic uprising in an incredible coordinated effort that brought nearly 1,000 people to the crest of Blair Mountain on June 11th. 


If you couldn't be there and really wanted to be, read Sue Rosenberg's excellent account:

For those who say that there is not a movement in this country, that all young folks are self focused and unaware of themselves and their responsibilities in this world, that it is impossible to create alliances which bridge the barriers between generations, regions, labor and environmentalists, races and genders and still maintain a clear and radical view of the division of power in this world, I say look again! At the March on Blair Mt. 


Last month I joined with hundreds of people, young and old and in between, Appalachians and people from across the country ( and some from as far away as France and Australia!) as we followed the route taken 90 years ago by 10,000 + miners as they marched 50 miles from Marmet to Logan, WV to demand the right to a union and decent working conditions and freedom from the control of the coal companies. They ended at what was to be the battlefield of Blair Mt. in Logan County WV, confronted by armed gun thugs from the coal company, by local groups owned and armed by big coal and ultimately by the US Army.  Up to 100 miners lost their lives and it would be over a decade before the union was established in the coal fields of WV. BUT, the Battle of Blair Mt. has stood as a monument, a symbol of the fight for workers' rights across the country- a fight that ultimately brought to all of us the right to organize as workers, decent working conditions, weekends, good wages and pride.  It is those rights which are being challenged today.


Today Blair Mt., along with many other beautiful and important Appalachian mountains, is being threatened with extinction by surface mining for coal(often known as Mountaintop Removal). The coal companies want to blast away this important American symbol of labor history, as they have blasted away over 500 mountains throughout the coal fields of Appalachia. 


This modern day march on Blair Mountain which took place from June 6-11, 2011 was an extraordinary event- The call was "Land, Unity and Labor- a fight to end Mountaintop Removal Mining, Preserve Blair Mt, Honor Labor History and build sustainable communities in Appalachia- it was bringing together under one banner the vital issues which face us today-  workers rights, community rights, the protection of our mountains and our lands, our water and our air against big corporate greed. 


From the first day it was clear that this would be an extraordinary gathering. Saturday was a day of orientation and organizing as people arrived at a warehouse in Marmet which was the headquarters of the march.


It was an amazing operation: medical team with at least 40 medics, media teams, an in house audio visual team which produced daily video of the events, security and peace keepers, an outdoor kitchen which would produce 3 fantastic meals a day-(vegetarian, vegan and meat) with excellent homemade cakes for dessert!! Porta Potties were rigged to trailers, water carted in and more.


On Sunday a group of ministers from diverse religious backgrounds (including the famed author Denise Giardina) held a quiet service bringing us all together to remember that we were there to protect and save the earth and that we would bound together in a commitment to non violence and determination.


Then there was the rally- Banners from the United Mine Workers 

Local 1440, signs as memorials to all the mountains which have been destroyed, leaders in the movement who marched with their children and grandchildren, Native America people and more. I walked with a woman who is 87, insisting on carrying her own sign- Save Blair Mt.  There was song and there were drums as we marched through the town- everyone proud and anxious about what may lie ahead.


There were many, many obstacles which the march faced - 95+ degree weather, long and narrow mountain roads, vocal and sometimes angry opposition by some in the communities we walked through. The coal companies succeeded in bullying and frightening some who had agreed to rent their parks or land for camping and rest stops along the way. The first night after 250 people set up tents at a local park (which had agreed to our camping there), listened to a retired coal miner talk and were getting ready for sleep, we had to pack up at 10 at night or face arrest. After that each campground cancelled and the group had to sleep in a warehouse in Marmet  each night and be shuttled back to the line of march daily.  It meant discomfort, endless waiting, frustration but this group of retired miners, community members, people long devoted  to the movement to end MTR, veterans of other struggles for social justice, young people who hadn't been to a protest before, young and old, "hippies"  and kids with tattoos and piercings and not a few clergy all maintained a spirit of unity of purpose and passion for the world! It felt like endless barriers were being crossed and many a new friend was being made. Everyone lent a hand, everyone cheered each night when we heard speakers talk about the amazing Appalachian history, spirit and culture and of the fight to save the mountains. Everyone cheered even when each night more problems were reported and more changes had to be made. Cheers went up for the organizers even when things did not all go smoothly. Dirty, hot and tired, the spirit and camaraderie of this group only got stronger each day. Each night one of the many organizers had to ask this tired footsore group for volunteers for the kitchen, for the porta potties, for security, for other not so pleasant tasks and there was never a lack of hands raised!  And then inspiring songs were sung before tumbling off to bed on the concrete floor of the warehouse that became home to get ready for an early rise, breakfast and the road.


Some of the most moving moments came as we marched through communities where strong opposition was expected, where King Coal has long had a grip and where people feared for their jobs and their way of life. Yes there were signs reading "Treehuggers go home" and "Friends of Coal" and obscenities too, but there were also hand written signs on card board saying "THANK YOU" and "Marchers Welcome".


There was a school were the kids waved support. There were people standing with cameras waiting for hours for the marchers to come wanting to see history being made. There were those who opened their doors, gave cold drinks, sometimes at great peril. There were some whose grandfathers had marched in 1921 and they had tears in their eyes as we marched by. 


Each day 250-300 people marched. Each day medics and nurses helped out those with heat sickness and blistered feet. Each day new people arrived, filling in for those who had to rest or go.  Thousands of miles were put on shuttle vehicles as we had to shuttle people back and forth with only cars and vans.

On the last day 1000 people were at the rally at the foot of Blair Mt.

What an incredible day.  Speakers ranged from Bobby Kennedy, Jr. to Chuck Nelson, Ken Hechler and Larry Gibson, Wilma Steele and Mari-lyn Evans and many more.  Filmmaker Josh Fox, a leader in the fight against hydrofracking (maker of GASLAND)came from NY and talked about our joint fight against those big corporations  which are ruining our communities. There were moments of silence for heroes of this movement who have passed away- Judy Bonds, Winnie Fox and others whose names I don't remember- hearts were full and tears were shed as we sat in the almost 100 degree sun.


And then over 750 people marched, the last 2.5 miles up Blair Mt. and some 150 onto the Battlefield itself now owned by Arch and Alpha Coal to place homemade memorials on the the site. The spirit was strong, defiant and exuberant. 


So while some say that young people are not "involved" like they were "back in the day" and some say that there is an impossible rift between young and old, between the tattooed and pierced young folks and the more staid, more traditional Appalachian people, the truth is quite different. These are just myths meant to keep us apart and ineffective.  Just read this  article by the grandson of

Bill Blizzard- one of the original organizers of the 1921 March on Blair who marched the whole way. http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/201106240398


During the week of the march, I met and got to know such wonderful people, I was so moved by each one- people who spent hours with less glamorous tasks like working in the kitchen, making sure porta potties were cleaned out, spending endless hours on the phone and computer making sure that the world knew what we were doing; retired miners, a nurse practitioner who has organized for years to stop MTR, people who had grown up in hollows of WV but had to move for jobs and family but return because of their commitment and love for their homeplace.  I saw young people, who I had met several years ago when they were new to this movement, new to organizing, just out of high school or college who have grown up with confidence and grace and energy and skill to pull off this complex and overwhelming event.


At the end of the march, I was exhausted but also felt a sense of renewed confidence that we  in fact have a shot at fixing this world and that our work is worth it.


Utah Phillips said this (maybe he was quoting someone else)- "The most dangerous thing in America is a long memory".  It is the memory of the labor struggles in this country that have been effectively buried, kept from us so we don't know  and can't learn from our history.


When over 1000 people rallied at the foot of Blair Mt. on June 11, they were using that most important and "dangerous tool," making sure that we do not forget the those who fought before us and will use that history to move on today.


Annalyse McCoy:

I am a New Yorker, but my heart resides in the mountains of my home in Eastern Kentucky. My band 2/3 Goat played at the March on Blair Mountain.  Our song “Stream of Conscience” came out of our passion and deep belief that mountaintop removal must end.  We were lucky to have the opportunity to play this song at the rally.  It expresses a need for conscience in this whole ordeal.  When I see mountains blown up, water poisoned, cancer stealing the lives & health of Appalachians of all ages, I think, “Where’s the morality in all this?  Where is the conscience?”  After the rally, as seven hundred and seventy-five of us marched two miles up to the summit of Blair Mountain, forced by the police to march single file most of the time, I saw the Stream of Conscience that we call out for in our song.  This was probably the most difficult two miles I’ve ever walked, what with the single-file line and the fact that it was all uphill.  I cannot imagine what it was like for those who marched the entire fifty miles the five days before.  But we all kept going, because we believe in a better future for the people who are living among this destruction.  This Stream of Conscience wove that day like a vein through the still living, still breathing heart of Appalachia.  I hope that the March on Blair Mountain encourages the people of the region to stand up for their right to clean water and a cancer-free existence, and to keep the Mountains alive!  Appalachia is Rising!