Inside, Pipeline dripped oil into a puddle on the floor, which referred to leaks in the Alaska pipeline. I was invited to Alaska to get inspired by the landscape, and the thing that most overwhelmed me was seeing the pipeline going in and out of the land, traversing the mountains, and spanning lakes, while knowing that they hadn’t perfected the system. It was rusting and subject to freezing, so there were a lot of spills into the pristine environment.
In response, I built my own pipeline at the Anchorage Art Museum. Parts of it were outdoors, and one segment arched over a railroad track and then plunged into the ground, coming back up again to form an archway that you walked under when you entered the museum. Then it twisted around the corner and appeared to pierce the building; inside, at the exact same place, a pipe turned a few times and slowly made its way down from the very high ceiling. Eventually, like the Alaska pipeline, it was held by braces, and, just at that point, the oil dripped. It was on a timer, and so many drops per hour fell into the pool. The gallery was partially funded by the oil companies, so the curators and the director were very courageous to support a work like this.
Marter, Joan. “Systems: A conversation with Nancy Holt,” Sculpture Magazine vol. 32, no. 8 (October, 2013): 28-33