The newly formed Holt-Smithson Foundation has made its first move to secure the legacy of the pioneering land artist Nancy Holt (1938-2014), better known for safeguarding the work of her husband, Robert Smithson, after he died in 1973 than for promoting her own.

Holt’s monumental “Sun Tunnels” (1973-76), sited in the Great Basin Desert in Utah, has just been acquired by the Dia Art Foundation — its first such work by a woman. The combination gift and purchase from the Holt-Smithson Foundation also includes Holt’s room-size installation “Holes of Light” (1973), to be exhibited in September at Dia:Chelsea.

“We’re hoping the urban exhibition will encourage people to think about going out to the Great Basin Desert,” said Lisa Le Feuvre, executive director of the foundation responsible for the estates of Holt and Smithson.

Jessica Morgan, director of the Dia foundation, described the work’s appeal as both ancient and modern. “‘Sun Tunnels’ is a work that reaches back to a Renaissance fascination with astronomy but has a very contemporary physicality,” she said. Read more