Based on Lucy Lippard’s exhibition at the Fischbach Gallery entitled, “Eccentric Abstraction,” Crossword Work is a functional crossword puzzle and artwork of the unexpected. While it adheres to basic principles of crossword, Crossword Work uses the grid to create an unconventional design. The words in the answer key range from high-brow artistic concepts to simple colloquialisms: bra, ants, tacos. The humorous juxtaposition invites viewers to engage in spectatorship, investigation, and self-awareness - an invitation that resounds throughout Holt’s oeuvre.
Along each segment of a square made up of dashed lines, lies the command: “DETACH HERE.” The implied perforation beckons the viewer to tear along the sides and remove the square from the rest of the paper. This call to action renders the work somehow unfinished in its present state, yet a “completed” version—with the square detached—removes with it the essence of the work. One of Holt’s earliest works, Detach Here is a keen example of the artist’s continual desire to rouse the spectator, inviting conscious participation in the act of spectatorship. Detach Here was presented at Virginia Dwan’s gallery in the 1969 exhibition Language III.