Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt
Sun Tunnels is a land sculpture created by Nancy Holt, that began in 1973 and completed in 1973. The work consists of four large concrete tubes, laid out in the Great Basin Desert, Utah in an open X configuration. The nine-foot diameter, 18 foot-long tunnels are pierced by holes of a varying size that corresponds to the pattern of selected celestial constellations. Each tunnel has a hole drilled into the top to form the constellations- Draco, Perseus, Columba, and Capricorn. The tunnels line up with the rising and falling sun of the summer and winter solstices. In creating the sun tunnels Holt bought 40 acres for $1,600 in the Great Basin Desert in Utah. Installing the cylinders, each weighing 22 tons, was very difficult and needed around 41 people serving different jobs to help her document the process and install the heavy pieces. As an artist Nancy Holt enjoys exploring through her work, the human perception of time and space, earth and sky, and this project embodies this passion. She focuses on the balance between the earth, the sky, and the stars by how she manipulates the cylinders to highlight all three. Although she focuses on the balance between the land and sky the piece also demonstrates the contrast and connection between the two.