Nancy Holt, 1938–2014

Pioneering American land, installation and video artist dies

Nancy Holt, Sunlight in Sun Tunnels, 1976/2012. Courtesy Haunch of Venison, London

Nancy Holt, the American artist who made some of the most important land art works of the twentieth century, and whose practice also entailed video and installation works, has died. The New Mexico-based artist was taken to hospital on her return from an October award ceremony in New York where she had received a lifetime achievement award. Whilst in hospital she continued working, editing what was to be her last film The Making of Amarillo Ramp (2013). The work is a portrait of the titular 1973 work by Holt's late husband Robert Smithson. The film is currently on show at the exhibition Robert Smithson in Texas at the Dallas Museum of Art. In a 2012 interview with ArtReview she told the critic Laura McLean-Ferris 'These emotions can come unexpectedly and stab you deeply: they seem to come out of nowhere – unresolved issues lying around in one’s psyche. Returning to a particular place associated with certain memories can trigger these feelings: the external trigger activates the internal trigger.'

11 February 2014