Nancy Holt and partner Robert Smithson are two other leading figures of this pioneering American Land Art movement. Often overshadowed by the work of her male counterparts, Holt’s trailblazing sculptures, such as her “Sun Tunnels” (1976) series, have fundamentally informed the movement’s legacy. Placed in the desert of Utah, large concrete tubes that are pierced with a pattern of holes interact with the natural sunlight.
Over the course of her career, Holt pioneered site-specific installations while embracing contemporary new media, continuously expanding space both physically and conceptually. Her sculptures act as framing devices that allow viewers to become aware of their surroundings.
“While not overly political, members of his mostly American movement tended to be dissatisfied with the constraints of the market-driven art world and cultural commercialism and many of them sought out remote sites unscathed by previous human intervention, where they could create monumental sculptures that enabled the viewer to directly experience the natural world”
The story of Land Art is also that of an American art movement, dominated by the white male gaze and dominating practice. A male preserve that has only in the last decade experienced a reconsideration and much needed focus on art practices of female Land Artists such as Nancy Holt, Mary Miss, Ana Mendieta, Beverly Buchanan and many others.