the location of "city" isn't undisclosed, you fucking tool - I was just there a month ago, there are references to it all over the net. try doing a little research next time, you might approach VICE magazine level journalism then - but probably not.
By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
Many of these artists felt confined in the narrow streets and cramped studios of New York City, so they went west. Robert Smithson built a twisting finger of stones out of a lonesome patch along the Great Salt Lake to make Spiral Jetty (1971). De Maria plunked down 400 polished, pointed steel poles to attract lightning in western New Mexico. Donald Judd established his own Minimalist utopia in Marfa, Texas, with an array of concrete cubes and a commitment to supporting artists to come there. But Heizer, the native Westerner, grandson of a geologist and son of an archaeologist, was the one who showed them the way.
Land art was born of that spare moment between industry and ecology, after Silent Spring and before the EPA, when people were looking back toward the land but still open to it as something that mankind could warp at will. Strip-mining, i.e., the removal of whole mountains to get at the minerals underneath, is perhaps another, much darker kind of Double Negative.
Though the artists disagree on this topic, Heizer wanted and wants to make artwork that will last millennia. He doesn't care about landscape, claiming he would have built his biggest, most expensive and, after four decades, still unfinished masterwork, City, in New Jersey if he could have afforded it. (Instead it's at an undisclosed location in middle-of-nowhere Nevada.)
The various essays about him over the years, in particular Michael Kimmelman's accounts in The New York Times, paint Heizer as a borderline crank. Desert people have always been known for being so, those westward pioneers who hit the coast at just the right angle and fervor, only to bounce off the water and fall back into the desert, cutting hardscrabble lives out of the unlivable heat amidst the tumbling tumbleweeds and prickly pears, building and abandoning ghost towns and ramshackle movie sets made to look like ghost towns.
Unsatisfied with the ephemerality of others' desert dreams, Heizer with City, and all his sculptures really, is building a one-man Chichen Itza, monuments that will outlast the humans.
This is one way, perhaps, to beat back death. Standing in the trough of Double Negative, the desert wind blowing softly in the epic silence, I grew to appreciate Michael Heizer, the visionary artist, the desert crank, a hero worthy of Werner Herzog, who always loved the outsized dreams of obsessed individuals or, as Emerson once put it, "the infinitude of the private man." I still think these artists (Heizer, De Maria, Smithson) tend toward the egomaniacal, more or less, but I've begrudgingly grown to respect their sheer, indomitable will, their epic visions to explore the possibilities of human expressions and, with hope, inspire others.
A few days later, we met our driver in Quemado, N.M., for the 45-minute chauffeured ride through unmemorable byways to drop us at the well-equipped cabin built for art patrons at De Maria's The Lightning Field. The 38,000 pounds of steel (outlined in the cabin's laminated booklet) that the artist used in the hundreds of pointed, leveled poles in the remote desert of New Mexico had all the markings of the grandiose, but the stillness and contemplation, the openness of the grid that both contains and the wilderness, were beautiful. And despite whatever outsized ego may have produced these works or the parachuting pretensions art tourists might bring to it (myself included), I'm not one to argue with anyone's inspiration.
It was partly by accident that, after years of reading stories, I finally put all skepticism aside and drove those hundreds of miles to gaze upon and scramble through these landmarks of land art. Now that I've been, the adventure is over, reduced in some ways to an experience with a check mark next to it — all its potential realized, completed and closed.
Still, I don't feel any particular rush to see Levitated Mass. If Heizer has his way, his sculpture will still exist after the museum crumbles into dust. Unseen, the monumental sculpture is still full of potential, a legend I have yet to experience. I'll eventually get there. And I'm sure, faced with its sheer surreal mass, I too will take a picture next to it.
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