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Holt’s film ‘Utah Sequences’ at UMFA

Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah  (UMFA) presents the first showing of Nancy Holt’s film Utah Sequences (1970), launching February 14, 2020. Please check UMFA’s websites for details for schedules before visiting.

Shot on 16mm film, Utah Sequences shows Holt’s deep investigation of Utah’s landscape. Created six years before the completion of Sun Tunnels (1973–76), Holt’s earthwork situated in Utah’s west desert, this film explores the manmade and natural environment at Rozel Point on the north arm of Great Salt Lake. The film captures wood cabins, an amphibious vehicle, and remnants of oil drilling that have largely disappeared from the site today. By contrast, the tar-seeps and salt-encrusted pelicans so present in this film remain a constant at the site.

Holt’s film shows the artist Robert Smithson, the gallerist Virginia Dwan, the photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni, and one yet-to-be-identified-person as they prepare for the construction of Smithson’s iconic earthwork Spiral Jetty (1970), a giant coil of black basalt rocks that juts into Great Salt Lake at Rozel Point. The film contains a section Holt refers to as ‘Mica Spread’ (seen above) where Smithson empties bags of mica, a mineral often used as an insulator, found at an abandoned cabin. Fifty years after Smithson built Spiral JettyUtah Sequences sheds light on Holt and Smithson’s time in Utah and invites conversations about entropy, timescales, and the human impact on the environment.

At Holt/Smithson Foundation we are led by research. During this presentation, which shows though to August 2, 2020, we will work with researchers to learn more about this remarkable film.

Still from Nancy Holt, Utah Sequences (1970)
Digitized 16mm color film
Color, silent
Duration: 9 minutes, 26 seconds

Art © Holt/Smithson Foundation, licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

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Visiting earthworks by Holt and Smithson

Earthworks and public sculpture by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson are located in both the United States and in Europe. Some visits require advance booking as the artworks are sited on private land. In these cases appointments are essential.

When visiting, please respect the environment and leave no trace of your visit. For more information and for image permissions be in touch with us at contact@holtsmithsonfoundation.org.