A pioneer of earthworks and public art, Nancy Holt also worked in sculpture, installation, film, video, and photography for over three decades. She is best known for her large-scale environmental sculptural works, including Sun Tunnels in northern Utah and Dark Star Park in Arlington, Virginia. In the 1970s, Holt made a series of pioneering film and video works, including several collaborations with Robert Smithson. Holt's early videos, which are among the most iconic works in the medium, explore perception and memory through experiments with point of view and process.
Nancy Holt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1938 and died in 2014. She received a Bachelors degree in Biology from Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, in 1960. She received five National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two New York Creative Artist Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Florida, Tampa. She produced site-specific environmental works in numerous public places around the world, including Sun Tunnels (1976), a large-scale sculptural work in Great Basin Desert, Utah; Stone Enclosure (Rock Rings) in Bellingham, Washington; Astral Grating (1987) in a New York City subway station, and Dark Star Park, in Arlington, Virginia, among many others. She also completed large-scale land reclamation projects, including Sky Mound (1988) in the New Jersey Meadowlands, and Up and Under (1998), in Nokia, Finland. Holt's works, including her films and videos, have been seen in exhibitions at the John Weber Gallery, New York; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Dia Center for the Arts, New York, and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. The solo exhibition Nancy Holt: Photoworks was presented at Haunch of Venison, London, in 2012.
The retrospective exhibition Nancy Holt: Sightlines originated at Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery in New York, in 2010. Sightlines traveled to Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, Germany; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, IL; Tufts University Art Gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center, Medford, MA; Santa Fe Arts Institute, Santa Fe, NM, and Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. The exhibition was accompanied by a monograph of the same name, edited by Alena J. Williams, Sightlines curator.
Holt lived in Galisteo, New Mexico.