January 8, 2013

Nancy HoltSightlines

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Nancy Holt, Preparatory drawing of “Sun Tunnels,” 1975. Pencil and twelve black and-white photographs on paper, 14 x 20 inches. © Nancy Holt/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Courtesy of Haunch of Venison Gallery, London.

Nancy Holt: Sightlines offers an in-depth look at an important American artist whose pioneering work falls at the intersection of art, architecture, and time-based media. Drawing together pivotal works from more than 40 projects made between 1966 and 1980, this exhibition focuses on Nancy Holt’s ability to transform our perception of landscape through different observational modes in her site-specific installations, photographs, films, and public sculpture.

Frequently associated with the Land art movement, Holt has produced ambitious projects, coupling elementary forms with conceptual ideas, in locations and environments all over the world. Her most well-known work, Sun Tunnels (1974–76), is a large-scale, sculptural installation permanently situated in Utah’s Great Basin Desert. Language, photography, and film are integral to Land art, making it a multimedia practice as much as a sculptural one, and for Holt, the camera is crucial to her exploration of sculptural form and its production process. More than a simple means of documentation, its still and moving images are a testing ground for the subjective perception of space. Moreover, Holt eschews modernist forms of aesthetic reception through an investigation of language-based practices and is interested in the relation of the artwork to its environment. With her novel use of cylindrical forms, Holt developed a unique aesthetics of perception that enables visitors to her sites to engage with the landscape in new and challenging ways. Her early exploration of unconventional media—sound, light, audio-visual media, and industrial materials—demonstrates a redefinition of artistic categories after the postwar period. 

Nancy Holt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1938 and grew up in New Jersey. Shortly after graduating from Tufts University in 1960 she moved to New York, where—alongside a group of colleagues and collaborators including Michael Heizer, Carl Andre, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra and her husband Robert Smithson—she began working in film, video, installation and sound art. Holt is the recipient of five National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two New York Creative Artist Fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors. Her work has been shown at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Tate Modern in London. Currently, she resides in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Nancy Holt: Sightlines is curated by Alena J. Williams. The exhibition and tour are organized by the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University in the City of New York. Major support for the exhibition and its programs is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. This presentation of Nancy Holt: Sightlines is organized by Whitney Tassie, UMFA Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

For more information, please contact Dana Hernandez, T 801 5859880, [email protected]


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