There has not previously been a retrospective study of the work of major American artist Nancy Holt, so this new volume is an important addition to the history of contemporary art. The book accompanies an exhibition of the same name (which originated at Columbia University and is traveling through 2013 to Karlsruhe, Chicago, Medford MA, Santa Fe, and Salt Lake City). Essays by some of the most important chroniclers of Minimal and Earth Art (Lucy Lippard, Matthew Coolidge, and others), as well as texts by the artist, the oversized book is in addition filled with color and black and white photographs that amplify our sense of Holt’s accomplishments.
Best known for Sun Tunnels (and perhaps Dark Star Park), as well (of course) for being married to Robert Smithson, the broader range of Holt’s work is less recognized. This book should be a corrective. Her Land Art, sculpture, installations, film, and video are all represented. The illuminating interview of the artist by art historian James Meyer is particularly welcome.
The book (and the exhibition) are essential for anyone who wants to understand the art of the U.S. since the 1970s, the large-scale ambitions and constructions that grew out of that era, and the important work of one of contemporary art’s pioneers. (And as book prices go, it’s a bargain.)
— Jacques Figueras
Nancy Holt: Sightlines
edited by Alena Williams
University of California Press, 2011
Hardcover, 256 pages, $49.95