In 1970, artist Michael Heizer began constructing large outdoor structures across the desert in Nevada called, “City”. On September 2, the site will open to public visitors for the first time in 50 years.
“City” has been described as quite possibly the largest contemporary artwork on the planet, stretching more than a mile and a half long and half a mile wide, evoking the scale of ancient sites like Native American mounds, Mesoamerican metropolises and Egyptian devotional complexes. It is situated in the remote Basin and Range National Monument in central eastern Nevada, within the ancestral lands of the Nuwu (Southern Paiute) and Newe (Western Shoshoni), around 160 miles north of Las Vegas”, according to CNN.
LA County Museu of Art director, Michael Govan says, “Over the years I would sometimes compare Michael Heizer’s ‘City’ project to some of the most important ancient monuments and cities. But now I only compare it to itself. It’s an artwork aware of our primal impulses to build and organize space, but it incorporates our modernity, our awareness of and reflection upon the subjectivity of our human experience of time and space as well as the many histories of civilizations we have built.”
While some are worried the site will one day be taken over by development, Heizer says, “That stuff will all get melted down. Why do I think that? Incans, Olmecs, Aztecs — their finest works of art were all pillaged, razed, broken apart and their gold was melted down. When they come out here to f**k my ‘City’ sculpture up, they’ll realize it takes more energy to wreck it than it’s worth.”