Henry Luce Foundation to support Holt Studies in 2024

We are pleased to share Holt/Smithson Foundation has been awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to further our public-facing research into the art and ideas of Nancy Holt.

Across five decades Nancy Holt (1938-2014) asked questions about how we understand our place in the world, investigating perception, systems, and place. She made visionary contributions to the understanding of earth, land, and conceptual art. Yet, despite Holt’s powerful and influential work, she is significantly less known than her male peers: at Holt/Smithson Foundation we aim to change that. Our ambition is to place Holt at the center of art history by ensuring resources to enable the study, research, and exhibition of Holt’s work are available to researchers.

Holt/Smithson Foundation is committed to public education and to providing access to Holt’s and Smithson’s ideas to everyone. Over the next year our Holt Studies focus pays attention to a primary thread running through Holt’s work: systems. Through analyses of language, of planetary cycles, and of literal and metaphoric power flows Holt drew attention to the often-overlooked systems that structure our perception. This new research on Holt’s interest in systems is made possible with the support of the Luce Foundation.

We will commission essays in our Scholarly Texts program that directly address her System Works, a body of site-responsive sculptures, that include Electrical System (1982), Hot Water Heat (1984), Electrical Lighting for Reading Room (1985) and Ventilation System (1985-92), in the context of her earliest artworks from the mid-1960s; photograph Holt’s expansive series of works on paper exploring systems; digitize related still and moving image works; and record and publish oral histories with people who directly worked with Holt. At the Foundation, our digital presence is our public face: these primary research resources will be made public through our constantly expanding and content-rich website, accessible from anywhere, at any time, and at no cost.

Holt/Smithson Foundation is an artist foundation without an endowment, and we realize our ambitions through generous support of foundations and supporters. We are extremely grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for supporting our mission. 

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to deepen knowledge and understanding in pursuit of a more democratic and just world. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission by nurturing knowledge communities and institutions, fostering dialogue across divides, enriching public discourse, amplifying diverse voices, and investing in leadership development. A leader in arts funding since 1982, the Luce Foundation's American Art Program advances the role of American art in realizing more vibrant and empathetic communities. Through support for innovative projects, it empowers institutions to celebrate creativity, elevate underrepresented voices, challenge accepted histories, and seek common ground.

Archived News

Nancy Holt: Circles of Light at Gropius Bau, Berlin

Holt/Smithson Foundation and Gropius Bau are pleased to announce the most comprehensive presentation of Nancy Holt in Germany to date. Taking a journey through Holt’s output, starting with her first artwork made in 1966, Circles of Light expands over the Gropius Bau’s ground floor and atrium. Paying attention to Holt’s experimental approach to the interplay between the immaterial and the material, this exhibition underscores the singularity of Holt’s oeuvre.