Tribute to Nancy Holt at the Anthology Film Archives

April 10, 2014 — April 10, 2014


WHITE CUBE / BLACK BOX reconfigures the screening of Nancy Holt’s film projects as a tribute to Holt who recently passed away after a long illness, and an opportunity to celebrate the dynamic film work of this legendary artist. The show marks the NY premiere of her two most recently-completed works – BREAKING GROUND: BROKEN CIRCLE/SPIRAL HILL and THE MAKING OF AMARILLO RAMP – paired with her 1978 film SUN TUNNELS. Born in Massachusetts in 1938, but raised in New Jersey, Holt is best known for her environmental works. Her best-known piece, Sun Tunnels, consists of four 22-ton concrete tubes in the Utah desert, positioned to fill with the light of the sun at it rises and sets on the summer and winter solstices.

In addition to her own projects, Holt also dedicated herself to maintaining the legacy of her late husband, the land artist Robert Smithson, as is evident with these two new works. Smithson died in a plane crash at age 35 while viewing his work-in-progress, Amarillo Ramp. Holt, along with Richard Serra and Tony Shafrazi, completed Amarillo Ramp to Smithson’s specifications a few months after his death in 1973. The film – shot by Holt in 1973 transferred in the 90s, and edited in 2013 – documents their work to complete Smithson’s project. Smithson completed Broken Circle/Spiral Hill in 1971, and had planned to make a film in conjunction with the piece. Holt shot some scenes with Smithson in 1971, but the project was left unfinished for lack of funding. Using Smithson’s sketch of a storyboard and scenario for the film, BREAKING GROUND is an imagining of the film Smithson had hoped to make. While the film is structured after his notes and includes illuminating audio of Smithson’s thoughts on the project, Holt and Theo Tegelaers have created not only a representation of Smithson’s planned film, but a fascinating portrait of this earthwork. 

Nancy Holt
 SUN TUNNELS (1978, 27 min, 16mm-to-video)

 Nancy Holt & Theo Tegelaers

 Nancy Holt
THE MAKING OF AMARILLO RAMP 1973/2013, 32 min, digital

  Total running time: ca. 85 min.