Nancy Holt’s five-decade-long practice included work in art, architecture, and time-based media that involved singular mediations on interior and exterior environments. Dia’s exhibition is the first to focus on Holt’s room-sized light installations Holes of Light (1973) and Mirrors of Light I (1974). Concerning the complexities of perception—focus, light, and space—these important, yet rarely seen installations, push the conventions of sculpture by proposing a participatory experience similar to the practices of artists such as Michael Asher, Larry Bell, and Robert Irwin. In addition, two 1972 works from Holt’s Locator series, Dual Locators and Locator with Spotlight and Sunlight, are also on view.
The study of the circle as a visual frame, interaction of light and shadow, perceptual process, and visitor engagement in these works concretized major themes in Holt’s practice, which she continued to explore throughout her career. After observing the convergence of the specific conditions present within these two large-scale works and exploring these concepts in the landscape, Holt created Sun Tunnels (1973–76), her most well-known work in Utah’s Great Basin Desert, which is now part of Dia’s collection, as well as Dark Star Park (1979–84), a large-scale environmental installation in Arlington, Virginia.
This exhibition at Dia:Chelsea is the first to focus on Holt’s room-sized installations Holes of Light and Mirrors of Light I. It also marks the first re-creation of Mirrors of Light I since the work was originally installed in 1974.
Nancy Holt is made possible by major support from The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston. Generous support is provided by Frances Bowes, Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg, and Marissa Sackler. Additional support is provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Karyn Kohl, Ales Ortuzar, and Irene Panagopoulos.
Nancy Holt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1938. She died in New York in 2014.