This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

21May/20

THE MAKING OF AMARILLO RAMP (introduced by Lee Ranaldo)

©Holt/Smithson Foundation, Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York. Distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix.

Nancy Holt follows the creation of husband Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp in documentary (© Holt/Smithson Foundation)

Who: Lee Ranaldo
What: Online film screening and introduction
Where: Holt/Smithson Foundation Vimeo and Instagram Live
When: Friday, May 22, free, 2:00 (streams for twenty-four hours)
Why: The Holt/Smithson Foundation, which continues and expands the legacies of husband-and-wife artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, have been livestreaming rare films by and about the couple on Friday afternoons at 2:00, leaving them up on Vimeo and IGTV for twenty-four hours. On May 22, the foundation will present Holt’s The Making of Amarillo Ramp, a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the creation of Smithson’s last earthwork, 1973’s Amarillo Ramp, consisting of rocks and dirt that was meant to emerge from an artificial lake in Amarillo but is now eroding in a dry basin. Holt shot the film in 1973, but it wasn’t edited and completed until 2013; Smithson died at the age of thirty-five in a plane crash while surveying the work, which was finished by Holt, Tony Shafrazi, and Richard Serra, while Holt passed away in 2014 at the age of seventy-five. The thirty-two-minute 16mm film will be introduced by musician, composer, visual artist, writer, producer, and Sonic Youth cofounder Lee Ranaldo, who in 1998 released the experimental album Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson), which features the title track in addition to “Non-Site #3,” “Notebook,” “Here,” and a cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation,” which fits in all too well with the current pandemic; Smithson was a land artist working outside, amid large expanses of deserted areas, and Ranaldo has just released a new video for “Isolation,” with footage taken during the coronavirus crisis.

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