Michael Heizer, Wet Painting no. 4, 2016, paints on canvas with silkscreen, 109 7/8 × 91 1/2 × 2 1/2 inches (279.1 × 232.4 × 6.4 cm). Photo by Jeff McLane
Working largely outside the confines of a 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 New York and Nevada. His work has been collected and exhibited by Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Dia:Beacon, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Fondazione Prada, Milan, and many other institutions worldwide. Solo institutional exhibitions include Detroit Institute of Arts (1971); Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, The Netherlands(1979); 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 land sculpture, remains on permanent public view in the Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada. His land sculpture, City (1972–) remains closed to the public pending completion; the land on which the sculpture is located was declared a National Monument by President Obama in 2015.