The Making of Amarillo Ramp

1973-2013, 31:52 min, color, sound

The Making of Amarillo Ramp is Nancy Holt's final film. The piece documents Holt, Richard Serra and Tony Shafrazi as they complete Robert Smithson's unfinished earthwork, Amarillo Ramp, in the months following his death in 1973. The 1973 still photography and video footage, which documents their completion of Amarillo Ramp according to Smithson's specifications, was edited by Holt in 2013.

Holt's on-screen text introduces the piece and its context:

"On July 11 and 12, 1973 Nancy Holt, Stanley Marsh and Tony Shafrazi accompanied Robert Smithson as he searched for a site to build an earthwork on Marsh's land in Amarillo, Texas...Smithson chose a site 17 miles northwest of Amarillo, Texas on the edge of man-made Tecovas Lake, part of a Keyline Irrigation System on Marsh's land.

On July 20, 1973 during a flight to view the staked-out ramp, the plane with Robert Smithson, pilot Gale Ray Rogers and photographer Robert Curtin crashed. All three were killed. From August 3 to September 1, 1973 Nancy Holt, Richard Serra and Tony Shafrazi completed Amarillo Ramp according to Smithson's specifications."

The Making of Amarillo Ramp begins with a 1969 quote from Smithson, in which he reflects on the importance of site to his art: "When I get to a site that strikes the kind of timeless chord, I use it. The site selection is by chance. There is no willful choice. A site at zero degree, where the material strikes the mind, where absences become apparent, where the disintegrating of space and time seems very apparent -- sort of an end of selfhood -- the ego vanishes for a while."

Cinematography: Nancy Holt, 1973. Editing: Nancy Holt, 2013. Still Photography: Gianfranco Gorgoni, Nancy Holt, Richard Serra, Marsh Ranch Staff. Overseeing of Amarillo Ramp construction: Nancy Holt, Richard Serra, Tony Shafrazi. Front loader operator: Sid Feck. Trucking: De Pauw Construction Co. Post-Production Coordination: Deedee Halleck. Post Production: Nancy Holt, Michael Huante, Deedee Halleck, Molly Snyder-Fink, Orlando Richards, Ken Takeuchi. Digital Archivist: Tom Martinelli. Filmed at the Marsh Ranch, Amarillo, Texas, 1973. Edited in Santa Fe, New Mexico and New York City, 2013. Robert Smithson quote: "Fragments of a Conversation (1969)" William C.Lipke. Robert Smithson: Collected Writings. Edited by Jack Flam, UC Berkeley, 1996. Special thanks: Postworks, NYC, Robert Fiore, Persistent Pictures, Capitol Video, Santa Fe, Electronic Arts Intermix, NYC, Chromavision, The Standby Program. The Making of Amarillo Ramp premiered at the exhibition of Robert Smithson in Texas, Dallas Museum of Art November 24, 2013 - April 27 2014. Copyright Nancy Holt 2013.


This is a video transfer of a work initially shot on film. This is best shown as a projection, to reflect the original medium.
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