So long, Nancy Holt

Nancy Holt in Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor, England in 1969, photographed by her husband Robert Smithson
Nancy Holt in Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor, England in 1969, photographed by her husband Robert Smithson

Visionary land artist, photographer, writer and film maker Nancy Holt has died aged 75.  She is perhaps best known for her Sun Tunnels (1973-76), situated in Utah’s Great Basin desert.  The work is comprised of four, five and a half metre pipes, aligned according to the sunrises and sunsets of the Summer and Winter solstices respectively.  Each tube bears perforations that, when in full sunlight, project the constellations Draco, Perseus, Columba and Capricorn upon their interiors.

Nancy Holt, 'Sun Tunnels: Sunset,' 1976
Nancy Holt, ‘Sun Tunnels: Sunset,’ 1976

Holt was only recently the subject of her first retrospective, Nancy Holt – Sightlines, organised and toured by the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University.  Her last project was the editing of her film, The Making of Amarillo Ramp (2013) (currently on display in the Dallas Museum of Art’s Robert Smithson in Texas show), which details the creation of her late husband and fellow land artist Robert Smithson’s sandstone earthwork in Texas in 1973.

So long, Nancy Holt

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