35th Anniversary Dark Star Park Celebrations

By Editorial Team on July 30, 2019
Nancy Holt Dark Star Park.

Every August 1st at 9:32 am, Nancy Holt’s Dark Star Park (1984), in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood, aligns with the sun. Shadows cast by the spheres and poles of this landmark outdoor sculpture align with their permanent forms on the ground, marking the moment of Rosslyn’s founding. This year, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Holt/Smithson Foundation join with Arlington Public Art in celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Dark Star Park, which is located at Fort Myer Drive and North Lynn Street. Nancy Holt’s sculpture is both a regional landmark and a cornerstone of Arlington’s internationally acclaimed public art collection. Activities are scheduled at the Hirshhorn, as well as at Dark Star Park, including:

  • In Conversation: Time in Public Sculpture – Wed., July 31, 6:30 pm, Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn (Free, tickets available starting Thursday, July 11, 12 p.m. EST) – Holt/Smithson Foundation’s Executive Director Lisa Le Feuvre will lead a panel discussion exploring the ever-evolving nature of sculpture in the public realm with Arlington Public Art Founding Director Angela Anderson Adams, Hirshhorn Associate Curator Anne Reeve, and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum Director Brett Littman.
  • Janel and Anthony Performance – Thur., Aug 1, 9:00 am, Dark Star Park (Free) – The world premiere of an original site-specific composition by Cuneiform recording artists Janel and Anthony. The live performance will coordinate with the shadow alignment.
  • The Alignment at Dark Star Park – Thur., Aug 1 – 9:32 am, Dark Star Park (Free) – The community is invited to watch as the sculpture aligns with the sun and celebrate with light refreshments provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.
  • Nancy Holt Film Screenings with an introduction by Lisa Le Feuvre – Thur., Aug. 1, 12:30 pm, & Sat., Aug 3, 2:00 pm, Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn (Free, first-come, first-served seating) – Screening of Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (1978, 26 min.) and Nancy Holt,  Art in the Public Eye: The Making of Dark Star Park (1988, 33 min.).  The films reveal the making of visionary land artist Nancy Holt’s earthworks, serving both as documentation of her best-known land art sculptures and as artworks in themselves.

The work of pioneering land art artist Nancy Holt Dark Star Park is one of the first major examples of “integrated public art” in the nation, and Arlington’s first major commissioned public art project. On August 1st each year, known as Dark Star Park Day, shadows cast by the poles and spheres that make up the public art piece align with permanent forms in the shape of the shadows on the ground beneath them at precisely 9:32 am. It also marks the anniversary of the day William Henry Ross purchased the land that later became Rosslyn, where the park is located. Dark Star Park is also extraordinary in that it is among the

About the Panel Discussion Speakers

Angela Anderson Adams is the founding director of Arlington Public Art, an internationally renowned, award-winning publicly and privately funded public art program where she worked directly with Holt on the first renovation of Dark Star Park.

Brett Littman is the Director of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. He has overseen more than seventy-five exhibitions and personally curated more than 20 exhibitions over the last decade, dealing with visual art, outsider art, craft, design, architecture, poetry, music, science, and literature. Most recently, he curated the 2019 edition of Frieze Sculpture New York.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Associate Curator Anne Reeve is currently overseeing a major public installation of works by Lee Ufan for the Museum’s outdoor Plaza, scheduled to open in Fall 2019.

Currently leading the newly formed foundation dedicated to the legacies of Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Lisa Le Feuvre is a curator and writer. She directed the Henry Moore Institute, a center for the study of sculpture, until 2017, and has a long history of work in academia and museums.

About Janel & Anthony
Janel Leppin and Anthony Pirog have long been an active part of Washington, DC’s new-music scene. They play everywhere from Rhizome to the Kennedy Center to the 9:30 Club and tour internationally. Their critically acclaimed record Where is Home received rave reviews worldwide. Janel has released three solo recordings which she performed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Anthony leads The Messthetics, a powerhouse trio with former members of Fugazi who appeared in June 2019 at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival, and last fall on NPR Tiny Desk.

About Arlington Public Art
Today, Arlington is home to more than sixty permanent public art projects. Our projects are directly commissioned to be integrated into various County capital improvement projects, commissioned by developers as part of the site plan process, and initiated by community groups. Arlington’s history of developer-funded public art projects stemming from County planning objectives began in 1979 with the commission of Nancy Holt’s Dark Star Park in Rosslyn. We have hosted more than sixty temporary public art projects since 1987 and continue to partner with local arts organizations, artists and community organizations to develop, launch and present interpretative projects, temporary works, exhibitions and more. Arlington Public Art is a program of Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs.

About Arlington Cultural Affairs
Arlington Arts is the presenting arm of Arlington Cultural Affairs, a County division charged with fostering a creative environment that encourages collaboration, innovation and community participation. We do this by providing material support to artists, and arts organizations, in the form of grants, facilities and theater technology; through a commitment to integrating award-winning Public Art into our built environment; and with high-quality performing, literary, visual and new media programs across the County.

About the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The collection includes major holdings of painting, sculpture, photography, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new media, making it one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all, 364 days a year (closed Dec. 25). For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

About Holt/Smithson Foundation

Holt/Smithson Foundation is an artist-endowed foundation that exists to continue the creative and investigative spirit of the artists Nancy Holt (1938-2014) and Robert Smithson (1938-73). Holt and Smithson developed innovative ways of exploring our relationship with the planet, expanding the limits of artistic practice. Through public service their Foundation engages in programs developing the artists’ creative legacies, continuing the transformation they brought to the world of art and ideas.

About Rosslyn Business Improvement District
The Rosslyn BID provides high-quality, customer-oriented services designed to define, enhance and continually improve Rosslyn for those who work, live, visit and do business here. As a resourceful and collaborative organization, we work in partnership with our key stakeholders and Arlington County to create a welcoming, creative, thriving environment that supports Rosslyn’s residents and a wide range of business types, from innovative start-ups to established Fortune 500 companies and international associations. We take an active leadership role in all that we do, serving as a collaborator, community builder and agent of positive change.