Next Exhibitions

Nancy Holt: Power Systems

An industrial steel pipeline hangs on a wall above a museum stairwell. It frames architectural elements and ends on a plinth with a pool of oil on it.

Nancy Holt’s site-responsive sculpture Pipeline, installed inside and outside at the Wex, addresses fossil-fuel extraction, bringing critical attention to systems providing the power fueling our world.

Nancy Holt: Power Systems features the most extensive inquiry yet into Nancy Holt’s studies of systems. The exhibition launches in summer 2024 with a presentation of Pipeline, which calls attention to the physical and economic systems powering buildings and to the impact of fossil fuel extraction.
Holt visited Alaska in March of 1986 at the invitation of the Visual Arts Center of Alaska, with the hope she might create a work of art in celebration of the region’s beauty. Holt was instead struck by the infiltration of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System through the landscape. In response she made Pipeline, a sculpture made of steel pipes that twist in and out of the gallery, winding down to the floor where one section of pipe leaks—an incessant drip of oil pooling thickly on a white base. Pipeline points to the unchecked audacity and devastating consequences of the energy industry.
In the 1980s Holt’s exploration of systems focused on the fabric of the built environment with functional sculptural installations she termed System Works. Using standard industrial materials designed for heating, ventilation, lighting, drainage—as well as the raw materials of fossil fuels and waste—the System Works are connected to internal architectural organs, calling attention to our reliance on these modern systems and their complex relationship to the natural world.
In early 2025, the Wex’s presentation of Nancy Holt: Power Systems expands into the galleries with additional sculptures, installations, and works on paper focused on literal and metaphorical flows of power.

Nancy Holt, Pipeline (detail), 1986. Steel, oil. Installation view at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2023. Photo: Kevin Todora. Copyright Holt/Smithson Foundation. Licensed by Artists Rights Society, New York.

"The sculptures are exposed fragments of vast hidden systems, they are part of open-ended systems, part of the world."

About the artist and curator

Nancy Holt chevron-down chevron-up

Nancy Holt (1938–2014) was a member of the earth, land, and conceptual art movements. An innovator of site-specific installation and the moving image, Holt recalibrated the limits of art. She expanded the places where art could be found and embraced the new media of her time. Across five decades she asked questions about how we might understand our place in the world, investigating perception, systems, and place. Holt’s rich artistic output spans concrete poetry, audio works, film and video, photography, ephemeral gestures, drawings, room-sized installations, earthworks, artists’ books, and public sculpture commissions. Holt described herself as a “perception artist”; throughout her oeuvre she repeatedly challenges us to look beyond what we think we know. 

Lisa Le Feuvre chevron-down chevron-up

Lisa Le Feuvre is a curator, writer, and editor. She is the inaugural executive director of Holt/Smithson Foundation, the artist-endowed foundation dedicated to the creative legacies of Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Between 2010 and 2017 Le Feuvre was head of sculpture studies at the Henry Moore Institute, directing the research component of the largest artist-endowed foundation in Europe, leading programs of education, research, collections, publications, and exhibitions focused on sculptural thinking. She has curated more than 60 exhibitions as an institutional and independent curator, played a pivotal role in shaping academic and arts organizations, edited over 30 books and journals, spoken at museums and universities across the world, and has published more than 100 essays and interviews with artists.

Nancy Holt: Power Systems is curated by Lisa Le Feuvre, executive director of the Holt/Smithson Foundation and developed in partnership with the Holt/Smithson Foundation.

Bill and Sheila Lambert  
Carol and David Aronowitz  
Crane Family Foundation  

American Electric Power Foundation  
Mary and C. Robert Kidder  
Bill and Sheila Lambert

Adam Flatto  
PNC Foundation

Ohio Department of Development

Greater Columbus Arts Council

The Wexner Family 

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Ohio Arts Council
, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts 

Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme

The Columbus Foundation 
Axium Packaging

Nationwide Foundation

Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease 


Mike and Paige Crane

Nancy Kramer 
Ohio State Energy Partners  
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection  
Larry and Donna James

David Crane and Elizabeth Dang

Bruce and Joy Soll

Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle

Jones Day  
Alex and Renée Shumate


Next Exhibitions

Nancy Holt: Power Systems