Educators TOOLBOX
Art & Ecology

Nancy Holt
Sky Mound
1988 - present
landfill, earth mounds, steel poles
57 acres
Meadowlands of Hackensack, New Jersey
© John Weber Gallery

Click on the image for a larger view (66K) or here for the largest view (132K).

Nancy Holt, a contemporary ecological artist, transformed the problem of waste, one of the most pressing concerns of urban ecology, into a fertile ground for art. Sky Mound is a 57 acre landfill in New Jersey Meadowlands.

The latest technology has been employed to close the landfill. Decomposinggarbage is contained by an invisible slurry wall. Recycled plastic linersmade from old soda bottles cover the landfill and are topped with eighteeninches of soil. Methane gas, formed from decomposing organic garbage, iscollected in a recovery system and used as an alternative energy source. Large metal posts form a solar area in the center of the park to mark the summer and winter solstice and equinox. Holt redesigned the 100 foot area as a park for people and wildlife to enjoy.

The Sky Mound project was to be built in two stages. The first stagebegun in 1984, and completed in 1991, included sealing the landfill andcost nearly $11 million, paid by the state of New Jersey. Stage twoincludes nonfunctional sculptural sections and was to be funded by NEA,the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a New Jersey state environmentalbond. Funding was stopped in 1991 to conduct a technological study at thesite, and currently construction remains postponed.

© 2006