Points of View

Nancy Holt
Clocktower Gallery, New York
Four-monitor video installation, black-and-white, sound
Video unit: 6 ft. x 4 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft. 6 in. (1.83 x 1.37 x 1.37 m)
Duration: 44 minutes

In the 1970s Holt’s interest in framing vision and making words material led her to explore the productive miscommunications that take place when information is imperfectly transferred from one medium to another. The four-screen video installation Points of View (1974) reveals, as she notes in her journal, “the wonder of place through verbal description.” Points of View was made for the Clocktower Gallery in New York. Four monitors show views of Lower Manhattan as seen through a moving circular tube looking out the windows of the iconic New York exhibition space. Each is accompanied by a dialogue that, literally and conceptually, demonstrates different points of view. Lucy Lippard talks with Richard Serra, Liza Béar with Klaus Kertess, Carl Andre with Ruth Kligman, and Bruce Boice with Tina Girouard about what can be seen through the north, south, east, and west facing windows. 

In the first presentation in 1974, visitors could compare the strangers’ observations to their own personal perceptions; they may watch the video footage on the monitor, or step just outside the Clocktower Gallery to explore the same view in actuality. Seen today, Points of View performs travel through both time and space, actively engaging with the visual-cognitive processes.

Points of View was presented in the solo exhibition Nancy Holt: Points of View at Parafin, London in fall of 2020.


Published writing by Nancy Holt

Some Notes on Video Works

Nancy Holt

In Points of View, an installation at the Clocktower Gallery, New York City, May 1974, four monitors were placed facing out N, E, S, W at eye level in the center of the room. They were enclosed in a white rectangular structure 61⁄2 x 41⁄2 x 41⁄2 ft. with monitor screens exposed at a height of 41⁄2 to 51⁄2 ft. This structure repeated the structure of the square room with its high walls and four windows N, E, S, W overhead. The windows themselves were made circular, causing an interaction between the circles of sunlight shining into the space and the circles of video light being emitted by the monitors.

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