Ventilation IV: Hampton Air

Nancy Holt
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York
Steel ducts, fans, turbine ventilators, shanty caps
Overall dimensions: indoor section, 16 x 18 x 28 ft. (4.9 x 5.5 x 8.5 m) ; Outdoor section: 15 x 20 x 27 ft. (4.8 x 6.1 x 8.2 m)

A network of pipes extends from a floor-to-ceiling pipe in the gallery space of the Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton NY, with a portion of the structure continuing, seemingly right through the building, to the courtyard outside. ​Ventilation IV is part of a series of System Works that Holt began in 1981, with an aim to expose the rudiments of technology upon which humans rely. The structure is functional, outfitted with spinning fans and turbine ventilators, yet unnecessary. Holt brings a playfulness to the industrial connotation of the work, leaving space for deeper musings on energy, utility, and earth’s resources.


Writing by the Artist

Ventilation Series

Nancy Holt
Made of the standard materials of each system – plumbing, electricity, drainage, heating, gas, and ventilation – the sculpture are functional; the electrical systems light, the heating systems heat, the drainage systems drain, the ventilation systems circulate the air, and so on. Since the sculptures are exposed fragments of vast, hidden networks, they are part of open-ended systems, part of the world. Over the years these technological systems have become necessary for our everyday existence, yet they are usually hidden behind walls or beneath the earth and relegated to the realm of the unconscious. We have trouble owning up to our almost total dependence on them.

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See Also

Hydra's Head
Nancy Holt
Along the Niagara River, Artpark, Lewiston, New York, USA
Earthwork & Sculpture
Pipeline II
Nancy Holt
Fairbanks Arts Association, Fairbanks, Alaska
Earthwork & Sculpture