Heizer, Michael

Heizer, Michael,

1944–, American sculptor and painter, b. Berkeley, Calif., studied San Francisco Art Institute (1963–64). Heizer was one of the artists who developed land artland art
or earthworks,
art form developed in the late 1960s and early 70s by Robert Smithson, Robert Morris, Michael Heizer, and others, in which the artist employs the elements of nature in situ or rearranges the landscape with earthmoving equipment.
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 in the late 1960s and early 70s. After he moved (1967) to Nevada and California from New York, he created monumental works in which swaths of earth were moved to create large geometrical forms, e.g., North, East, South, West 1 (1967), made of holes dug in the Sierra Nevada, and Double Negative (1969) a massive 1,500-ft/457-m trench cut through facing cliffs in a Nevada canyon. He also made a series of paintings in which powdered dyes were used to create vast patterns over the Nevadan desert. Heizer's most ambitious project is City, a vast sculptural complex constructed of concrete, rocks, sand, and earth mixed and mined on site and situated in a desert valley in Nevada. Inspired by ancient pre-Columbian ritual city ruins and begun in 1972, the 1.5-mi-long (2.4 km) construction is still unfinished. Levitated Mass (2012), a 340-ton boulder suspended over a walkway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, appears to be levitating to visitors who walk beneath it. His recent works have included large painted steel sculptures and paintings with either brightly colored organic forms or black, hard-edged geometric shapes.


See studies by D. C. McGill (1990), M. C. Taylor (1991), G. Celant (1996), and P. von Rosen (2005); museum catalogs by Julia Brown (1984) and M. Heizer (1985).

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