Working largely outside the confines of gallery and museum, Michael Heizer has redefined sculpture in terms of size, mass, gesture, and process. A pioneer of Land Art, he is renowned for awe-inspiring sculptures and earthworks made with earth-moving equipment, which he began creating in the American West in 1967. Double Negative (1969–70), a pair of massive cuts in facing cliff edges of an obscure mesa near Overton, Nevada, was made by displacing 240,000 tons of rock. On permanent view at Dia:Beacon, North, East, South, West (1967/2002) consists of four geometric depressions, each sinking twenty feet below the gallery floor. City, a vast ongoing site in Central Eastern Nevada that Heizer has been working on since 1972, comprises giant earthworks inspired by ancient architectural ruins. Levitated Mass, a permanent, site-specific commission for LACMA, was unveiled in the summer of 2012.
Michael Heizer was born in Berkeley, California in 1944, and lives and works in Garden Valley, Nevada. His work has been collected and exhibited by Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Dia:Beacon, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Fondazione Prada, Milan, and many other institutions worldwide. Solo museum exhibitions include Detroit Institute of Arts (1971); Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (1979, traveled to Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, The Netherlands); St. Louis Art Museum (1980); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1985); and Fondazione Prada, Milan (1996). Permanent, site-specific sculptures include Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976, Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle); Levitated Mass (1982, 590 Madison Avenue, New York); 45°, 90°, 180° (1984, Rice University, Houston); North, East, South, West (1967/2002, Dia:Beacon, New York); Levitated Mass (2012, Los Angeles County Museum of Art); and four major sculptures at the Menil Collection, Houston. Double Negative (1969), a site-specific land work, remains on permanent public view in the Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada.
Heizer currently lives and works in Hiko, Nevada.
In March, the art world rallied to call for the protection of Nevada’s Basin and Range area, a landscape of rich archaeological resources and the site of Michael Heizer’s sprawling land art piece, City (1972–present). The region has faced numerous environmental threats, including a plan to develop a nuclear waste rail line, but...