Artist Michael Heizer’s ‘City’ will open after 50 years in the Nevada desert


written by Benjamin Sutton

This article is originally from . was published by art newspaperEditorial partner of CNN Style.

The “City,” a sprawling complex of outdoor structures and landmass, land artist Michael Heizer began construction in the Nevada desert in 1970, will eventually begin welcoming public visitors the following month. The site’s opening on September 2, more than 50 years after work began on the site, marks the fulfillment of Heizer’s most ambitious and career-defining project.

,city” has been described as possibly the largest contemporary artifact on the planet, more than one and a half miles long and half a mile wide, highlighting the scale of ancient sites such as Native American mounds, the Mesoamerican metropolis and the Egyptian devotion complex It is located in the Far Basin and Range National Monument in central eastern Nevada, within the ancestral lands of Nuvu (Southern Paiute) and New (Western Shoshoney), approximately 160 miles north of Las Vegas.

For the first year of public access, only a limited number of visitors will be admitted with mandatory advanced registration.

The “City” has been described as possibly the greatest work of contemporary art in the world. Credit: ben blackwell

Initially funded by Heiser, the construction of the “City” eventually received the support of a number of influential collectors, institutions and dealers through the formation of the Triple Augut Foundation in 1998, which would manage and preserve the site for years to come. The Foundation—whose board includes Heizer himself, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and chief executive Michael Govan, director of the Museum of Modern Art, Glenn D. Lowry, collector and Glenstone co-founder Emily Wei Ralls and Gagosian senior director Kara Vander Weg — have set up an endowment for the city — with approximately $30 million in initial funding.

“Over the years I have occasionally compared Michael Heizer’s ‘City’ project to some of the most important ancient monuments and cities,” Govan said in a statement. “But now I compare it only to myself. It is an artifact aware of our initial impulses to create and organize space, but also to reflect on our modernity, our awareness of time and space as well as the subjectivity of our human experience. Reflection is involved. Many of the histories of civilizations we have created.”

Heiser's attempt to make "city" Five decades have a complicated history.  The artist, now 77, believes it will last for centuries.

Heiser’s attempt to build a “city” has a complicated history spanning five decades. The artist, now 77, believes it will last for centuries. Credit: Mary Conversation

The road to building the “City” has never been simpler, involving shaping huge mounds of dirt, moving rocks, and building giant concrete structures. This process is at times further complicated by external factors. In 2014 and 2015, amid fears that the basin and range may shrink, potentially allowing disruptive development near the “City” site, a coalition museum leader and the late Nevada Senator harry reid Fought for the protection of the area through a public petition and legislation introduced to Congress. and in 2017, as the Trump administration were taken To open up previously protected lands to resource extraction, some were related That Heiser’s project will be one of the sites in danger.

Perhaps in response to such threats, Heiser sees “City” as a project that will endure well beyond the lifespan of the most treasured and difficult contemporary art.

“My good friend Richard Serra is building from military-grade steel,” he Told In a 2016 New Yorker profile about the project, discussing the American sculptor’s largely site-specific works. “That stuff would all melt. Why do I think so? The Incans, the Olmecs, the Aztecs – their finest works of art were all looted, smashed, smashed and their gold melted. When they were here for the f*ck Come out *k my ‘City’ sculpture, they’ll realize it takes more energy than it’s worth to waste.”
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