Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels

Nancy Holt's interest in astronomy became a key element in her art, which investigates the physical attributes of perception. Her first major work, Sun Tunnels, was constructed on a remote plot in the Great Basin Desert in northwest Utah. Consisting of four concrete and steel tubes made from highway conduit, the tunnels are aligned in an axis to frame the rising and setting sun on the horizon during the two yearly solstices. Continuing the astrological theme, each tunnel is drilled through with a pattern of holes in the configuration of a star constellation: Draco, Perseus, Columba and Capricorn.

Photo of Sun Tunnel

John Beardsley: Earthworks and beyond: contemporary art in the landscape. 1st ed. New York: Abbeville Press, 1984.  Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, N6494.E27B36

Photo of Sun Tunnells

Sun Tunnels, 1973-6. Four pieces of highway conduit aligned in an axis to frame the rising and setting sun. Desert in Northwest Utah. Photographer unknown.