Nancy Holt: Points of View at Parafin, London

This September Nancy Holt: Points of View launches at Parafin, London. The exhibition explores Nancy Holt’s fascination with language and systems of perception. The exhibition will be open from September 25 - November 14, 2020.

Holt’s earliest artworks were concrete poems, and many of her film and video works focus on communication, interpretation, and the subjectivity of language. In the mid 1960s Holt worked as an assistant literary editor at the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, and in 1966 began creating concrete poems and text-based works of art. These works announce the themes of sight, site, systems, place, and geography that would preoccupy her over the following decades. In her 1972 journal Holt noted a fascination with making words “concrete through vision.”

Holt treated words as discrete entities to be deployed in spatial strategies that defy and confound conventional narrative meaning. Seven concrete poems, spanning 1966 to 1986, are presented in Points of View. Alongside, the photowork Wistman’s Wood (1969) shows the site of Holt’s first Buried Poem, an artwork dedicated to Robert Smithson, and the nineteen part photographic series California Sun Signs (1972) charts the use of the word “sun” in signage Holt passed as she drove through the state of California to the Mojave Desert.

In the 1970s Holt’s interest in framing vision and making words material led her to explore the productive miscommunications that take place when information is imperfectly transferred from one medium to another. The four-screen video installation Points of View (1974) reveals, as she notes in her journal, “the wonder of place through verbal description.” Points of View was made for the Clocktower Gallery in New York. Four monitors show views of Lower Manhattan through the circular windows of the iconic New York exhibition space. Each is accompanied by a dialogue that, literally and conceptually, demonstrates different points of view. Lucy Lippard talks with Richard Serra, Liza Béar with Klaus Kertess, Carl Andre with Ruth Kligman, and Bruce Boice with Tina Girouard about what can be seen through the north, south, east, and west facing windows.

Learn more and see images of the works in the exhibition here.

Nancy Holt, Points of View (detail) (1974)

Clocktower Gallery, New York

Four-monitor video installation, black-and-white, sound

Duration: 44 minutes

Video unit: 6 ft. x 4 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft. 6 in. (1.83 x 1.37 x 1.37 m)

Photograph: Gwenn Thomas

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

Archived News

2021 Research Fellow: Ali Ismail Karimi

We are pleased to announce the first of our 2021 Holt/Smithson Foundation Research Fellowship awardees: Ali Ismail Karimi.

Ali Ismail Karimi’s Research Fellowship will focus on Robert Smithson’s 1966 works Grave Mounds with Object and Proposal for a Monument on the Red Sea and the relationship of Smithson’s work to the landscapes of the Middle East.

"Revolve" Screening in The Kitchen's Carlotta Schoolman Video Viewing Room

Nancy Holt's video Revolve is available to stream online through The Kitchen's Video Viewing Room celebrating the work of Carlotta Schoolman. Founded in 1971, The Kitchen is one of New York City’s oldest nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, The Kitchen is hosting a series of conversations with artists with accompanying Video Viewing Rooms.