When Nancy Holt received Sculpture Magazine’s lifetime achievement award in 2013, Star-Crossed, her site-specific artwork in Oxford Ohio on the campus of Miami University, graced the cover. Despite its place of prominence in her career, its exemplary employment of Holt’s “locators” to bring “the sky down the earth,” and its anticipation of her exploration of systems of flow through the inclusion of underground plumbing, Star-Crossed (1979-80) has yet to receive sustained scholarly attention.
My project constructs a full narrative of this fascinating sculpture, intersecting with the bureaucratic hurdles and institutional aspirations of a new museum commissioning work on a public university campus, inspiration from Indigenous earthworks of the Miami people, and practical and material challenges to realization and preservation. My project leverages institutional archives and oral history interviews and will expand Holt studies to look closely at the artist's deep involvement with universities in the U.S., which included over a dozen proposals and at least nine realized works.
Annie Dell’Aria is Associate Professor of Art History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her research explores various intersections of art, public space, and moving image media, among other things. She is the author of The Moving Image as Public Art: Sidewalk Spectators and Modes of Enchantment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). Her writing has also appeared in venues such as Afterimage, Artforum, Millennium Film Journal, Moving Image Review and Art Journal (MIRAJ) and in edited volumes such as Screening the Art World (Amsterdam UP, 2022) and Teachable Monuments (Bloomsbury, 2021).