Nancy Holt, Richard Serra Boomerang 1974

  • Not on view

As video technology became more widely available in the early 1970s, many artists were drawn to the medium's immediacy and ease of reproduction, which allowed works to be shown on television or through other modes of distribution that bypassed the walls of museums or commercial galleries. Serra, known primarily for his large lead and steel sculptures, made a number of films and videos in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Holt, a pioneer of land art, also worked with film, video, and photography throughout her career.

In Boomerang—which was broadcast live on a TV station in Amarillo, Texas—Holt's words are fed back to her through headphones with a one-second delay. She describes the experience, in which her words are suspended in time and space, as "a world of double reflections and refractions." As her voice echoes back to her, she continues, "words become like things," disconnected from their individual meanings and from their contexts. This interferes with Holt's thought process and establishes a distance between the artist and her sense of self, an effect intensified when pre-recorded sound samples are played or when glitches in the broadcast cause momentary periods of silence.

Gallery label from Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, June 11–September 28, 2014.
Object number

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].