new-york

Nancy Holt

Whitney Museum of American Art

Nancy Holt’s videotape Revolve centers on the reflections of a 30-year-old Canadian filmmaker who has leukemia. Set and kept in verbal motion by off-camera questions from Holt, Dennis Wheeler’s stunning discourse deals with his experiences in the hospital, his chemotherapy, and the adjustment to “normal” life during a remission from the disease, when the tape was made. Wheeler’s monologue rivets the attention through a coolly eloquent articulation of the most harrowing events and uncanny insights borne by a bold attempt to comprehend the imminence of his own death. This approaching a “state of perception” about his “terminal trajectory,” as he puts it, is nothing short of a mediation of dread through language, and is, ultimately, Wheeler’s ritualizing, distancing maneuver necessary for a confrontation with the prospect of his own extinction. “Deathwork,” as he describes his introspective

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