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Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Track Painting, 1967 Polyvinyl latex on canvas, 4 feet 7 ⅛ inches × 16 feet 5 inches (1.4 × 5 m)© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Track Painting, 1967

Polyvinyl latex on canvas, 4 feet 7 ⅛ inches × 16 feet 5 inches (1.4 × 5 m)
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Displaced/Replaced Mass (1/3), 1969 30-ton granite block in concrete depression, 22 feet 7 ⅝ inches × 5 feet 11 ⅝ inches × 4 feet 11 ¾ inches (6.9 × 1.8 × 1.5 cm), Silver Springs, Nevada, no longer extant© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Displaced/Replaced Mass (1/3), 1969

30-ton granite block in concrete depression, 22 feet 7 ⅝ inches × 5 feet 11 ⅝ inches × 4 feet 11 ¾ inches (6.9 × 1.8 × 1.5 cm), Silver Springs, Nevada, no longer extant
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Double Negative, 1969 Two removals of 240,000 total tons of earth, rhyolite, and sandstone, each: 1,476 feet 4 ½ inches × 29 feet 6 ¼ inches × 49 feet 2 ½ inches (450 × 9 × 15 m), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, installed at Mormon Mesa, Overton, Nevada© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Double Negative, 1969

Two removals of 240,000 total tons of earth, rhyolite, and sandstone, each: 1,476 feet 4 ½ inches × 29 feet 6 ¼ inches × 49 feet 2 ½ inches (450 × 9 × 15 m), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, installed at Mormon Mesa, Overton, Nevada
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, 45º, 90º, 180º, City, 1970– Compacted earth, concrete, and steel, 23 feet 6 inches × 140 feet × 110 feet (7.2 × 42.7 × 33.5 m), Central Eastern Nevada© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, 45º, 90º, 180º, City, 1970–

Compacted earth, concrete, and steel, 23 feet 6 inches × 140 feet × 110 feet (7.2 × 42.7 × 33.5 m), Central Eastern Nevada
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, U Painting, 1975 Polyvinyl latex and aluminum powder on canvas, 96 × 117 inches (243.8 × 297.2 cm)© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, U Painting, 1975

Polyvinyl latex and aluminum powder on canvas, 96 × 117 inches (243.8 × 297.2 cm)
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Actual Size, 1978 Photo, etched, inked, and gummed, with paint and pencil on lithography plate, 36 ½ × 44 ½ inches (92.7 × 113 cm)© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Actual Size, 1978

Photo, etched, inked, and gummed, with paint and pencil on lithography plate, 36 ½ × 44 ½ inches (92.7 × 113 cm)
© Michael Heizer

Installation view, Michael Heizer: 45º, 90º, 180º/Geometric Extraction, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 17–June 10, 1984 Artwork © Michael Heizer

Installation view, Michael Heizer: 45º, 90º, 180º/Geometric Extraction, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 17–June 10, 1984

Artwork © Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Biface Perforator (2), 1988–89 Modified concrete on a steel base, 70 × 101 × 29 ⅛ inches (178 × 256.5 × 74 cm)© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Biface Perforator (2), 1988–89

Modified concrete on a steel base, 70 × 101 × 29 ⅛ inches (178 × 256.5 × 74 cm)
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Displaced/Replaced Mass (3), 1994 20-ton white granite boulder and 2 15-ton white granite boulders in concrete pits, in 3 parts, part a: 17 feet × 6 feet 6 inches × 8 feet (5.2 × 2 × 2.4 m), parts b and c, each: 10 feet × 12 feet × 3 feet (3.1 × 3.7 × .9 m), installed at Ace Gallery, New York, July 1–August 15, 1994, Inhotim Collection, Brazil© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Displaced/Replaced Mass (3), 1994

20-ton white granite boulder and 2 15-ton white granite boulders in concrete pits, in 3 parts, part a: 17 feet × 6 feet 6 inches × 8 feet (5.2 × 2 × 2.4 m), parts b and c, each: 10 feet × 12 feet × 3 feet (3.1 × 3.7 × .9 m), installed at Ace Gallery, New York, July 1–August 15, 1994, Inhotim Collection, Brazil
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Asteroid, c. 2000 12-ton ore rock in weathered steel frame, 104 × 87 × 52 inches (264.2 × 221 × 132.1 cm)© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Asteroid, c. 2000

12-ton ore rock in weathered steel frame, 104 × 87 × 52 inches (264.2 × 221 × 132.1 cm)
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Tangential Negative Line Sculpture, 1968–2011 Weathering steel in earth, 112 feet 6 inches × 75 feet × 2 feet (34.3 × 22.9 × 0.6 m), installed in Bagnes, Switzerland© Michael Heizer. Photo: R. Hofer

Michael Heizer, Tangential Negative Line Sculpture, 1968–2011

Weathering steel in earth, 112 feet 6 inches × 75 feet × 2 feet (34.3 × 22.9 × 0.6 m), installed in Bagnes, Switzerland
© Michael Heizer. Photo: R. Hofer

Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass, 2012 340-ton diorite granite boulder and concrete, 35 × 456 × 21 feet 7 ¾ inches (10.7 × 139 × 6.6 m), Los Angeles County Museum of Art© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass, 2012

340-ton diorite granite boulder and concrete, 35 × 456 × 21 feet 7 ¾ inches (10.7 × 139 × 6.6 m), Los Angeles County Museum of Art
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Interstices (3), 1968–2014 Negative earth liner, weathering steel in earth, 24 feet 3 ¼ inches × 33 feet 1 inch × 2 feet 1 inch (7.4 × 10.1 × .6 m), Amagansett, New York© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Interstices (3), 1968–2014

Negative earth liner, weathering steel in earth, 24 feet 3 ¼ inches × 33 feet 1 inch × 2 feet 1 inch (7.4 × 10.1 × .6 m), Amagansett, New York
© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Potato Chip, 2015 18-ton granite rock in steel frame, 14 feet 4 inches × 8 feet 10 ¼ inches × 7 feet 8 inches (4.4 × 2.7 × 2.3 cm)© Michael Heizer. Photo: Rob McKeever

Michael Heizer, Potato Chip, 2015

18-ton granite rock in steel frame, 14 feet 4 inches × 8 feet 10 ¼ inches × 7 feet 8 inches (4.4 × 2.7 × 2.3 cm)
© Michael Heizer. Photo: Rob McKeever

Michael Heizer, Altar 2, 2015 Weathering steel, coated with polyurethane, 7 ½ feet × 40 feet × 43 feet 4 inches (2.3 × 12.2 × 13.2 m)© Michael Heizer. Photo: Rob McKeever

Michael Heizer, Altar 2, 2015

Weathering steel, coated with polyurethane, 7 ½ feet × 40 feet × 43 feet 4 inches (2.3 × 12.2 × 13.2 m)
© Michael Heizer. Photo: Rob McKeever

Michael Heizer, Altar 3, 2015 Weathering steel, coated with polyurethane, 5 feet ¼ inch × 30 feet × 31 feet 6 inches (1.6 × 9.1 × 9.6 m)© Michael Heizer. Photo: Rob McKeever

Michael Heizer, Altar 3, 2015

Weathering steel, coated with polyurethane, 5 feet ¼ inch × 30 feet × 31 feet 6 inches (1.6 × 9.1 × 9.6 m)
© Michael Heizer. Photo: Rob McKeever

Michael Heizer, Wet Painting no. 4, 2016 Paints on canvas with silkscreen, 109 ⅞ × 91 ½ × 2 ½ inches (279.1 × 232.4 × 6.4 cm)© Michael Heizer. Photo by Jeff McLane

Michael Heizer, Wet Painting no. 4, 2016

Paints on canvas with silkscreen, 109 ⅞ × 91 ½ × 2 ½ inches (279.1 × 232.4 × 6.4 cm)
© Michael Heizer. Photo by Jeff McLane

Michael Heizer, Hard Edge Painting no. 3, 2015–16 Polyvinyl latex on canvas, 109 × 91 ½ inches (276.9 × 232.4 cm)© Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer, Hard Edge Painting no. 3, 2015–16

Polyvinyl latex on canvas, 109 × 91 ½ inches (276.9 × 232.4 cm)
© Michael Heizer

About

As long as you’re going to make a sculpture, why not make one that competes with a 747, or the Empire State Building, or the Golden Gate Bridge?
—Michael Heizer

In his monumental excavations, site-specific constructions, geometric paintings, and drawings, Michael Heizer explores the relationship between positive and negative space, considering the profound effects of form and scale, and evoking the simultaneous feelings of awe and dread that constitute the sublime.

When Heizer was twelve years old, his parents permitted him to take a year off school to accompany his father, a renowned field archeologist, on a dig in Mexico. As his father researched the rock sources of ancient monuments, Heizer made site drawings, an exercise that he has continued to expand upon throughout his career. In the mid-1960s he left his studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and headed to New York, where he supported himself by painting apartments, including the loft of Walter De Maria, with whom he developed a close, lasting friendship. During this time Heizer began to work on shaped canvases that he called “negative paintings.”

In the winter of 1967 Heizer made a trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains, where he dug two large pits in the woods, lining one with plywood and the other with sheet metal. He declared this work to be “ultra-modern art,” and it was a turning point in his practice. Heizer further manipulated the landscape in Double Negative (1969), a pair of cuts fifty feet deep in facing cliff edges of Mormon Mesa in Nevada, made by removing 240,000 tons of sandstone and rhyolite.

In the 1970s Heizer continued to seek out ideal terrains for his work, compiling real estate files for property in six western states and buying remote land as raw material. In 1970 he began City, a project in the Nevada desert that he has been working on for more than forty years, and is inspired by Native American traditions of mound building and the pre-Colombian ritual cities of Central and South America. Using materials primarily mined from the surrounding land, City merges Heizer’s interests in ancient civilization with his singular ability to work with immense variations in scale, perspective, and viewpoint.

Simultaneous to the construction of City, Heizer has developed several major bodies of work, including shaped canvases featuring screen-printed colors and “negative wall sculptures” composed of rocks and boulders set into rectangular niches. In 2012 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art installed Levitated Mass (2012), a 340-ton granite boulder perched over a narrow outdoor passageway. In 2015 Heizer debuted the Altar series (2015) at Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York, large steel sculptures that allude to a wide range of pictographic influences, from ancient rock carvings and hieroglyphs to cattle-branding symbols. By unifying the images and architecture of different cultures and eras, Heizer strives to create art that could outlast many generations as he explores the effects of scale and symbolism on perception.

Andy Warhol cover design for the magazine Aspen 1, no. 3.

Artists’ Magazines

Gwen Allen recounts her discovery of cutting-edge artists’ magazines from the 1960s and 1970s and explores the roots and implications of these singular publications.

The cover of the Fall 2019 Gagosian Quarterly magazine. Artwork by Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019

The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.

Glenstone Museum.

Intimate Grandeur: Glenstone Museum

Paul Goldberger tracks the evolution of Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Set amid 230 acres of pristine landscape and housing a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, this graceful complex of pavilions, designed by architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, opened to the public in the fall of 2018.

Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019

The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.

Michael Heizer: New Paintings and Sculpture

Behind the Art
Michael Heizer: New Paintings and Sculpture

Michael Heizer’s impressive installation at Gagosian Beverly Hills features new paintings that deny the conventional rectangular or square confines of the canvas, alongside negative wall sculptures, known for their size, raw materials, and ability to awe viewers.

Michael Heizer: Altars

Michael Heizer: Altars

Kara Vander Weg takes us through the artist’s 2015 Altars exhibition.

Levitated Mass

Levitated Mass

In 2012, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art debuted Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. How it got there was a work of art in itself, and the topic of a documentary by Doug Pray. Derek Blasberg caught up with Pray to talk about his film.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Sarah Sze, Afterimage, Silver, 2018 © Sarah Sze

Support

Artists for Biden

October 2–8, 2020

Artists for Biden is an online-only sale of works by leading contemporary artists to support the Biden Victory Fund—a joint fundraising committee authorized by Biden for President, the Democratic National Committee, and forty-seven state Democratic parties. All proceeds from the sale will provide resources needed to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and support other Democratic candidates across the country in the lead up to Election Day. Work by Cecily Brown, Michael Heizer, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Sze, Stanley Whitney, and Christopher Wool will be available. To register for early access on October 1, visit secure.joebiden.com.

Sarah Sze, Afterimage, Silver, 2018 © Sarah Sze

Michael Heizer, Scoria Negative Wall Sculpture, 2007 © Michael Heizer

Art Fair

FOG Design+Art 2020

January 16–19, 2020, booth 204
Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, San Francisco
fogfair.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in FOG Design+Art 2020 with a presentation of works by Michael Heizer and Mary Weatherford. Together, Heizer and Weatherford conjure a dialogue about our complex interaction with the environment at large. In two works from Heizer’s ongoing Negative Wall Sculptures, unrefined rocks are contained by a smooth manmade alloy, yet they remain imposing—even seemingly impossible—in the apparent negation of their enormous weight. Weatherford’s works on paper feature abstracted landscapes that do not set urban and rural environments against one another, but immerse us instead in the artist’s personal impressions of a world outside of time.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at fogfair.com.

Download the full press release (PDF)

Michael Heizer, Scoria Negative Wall Sculpture, 2007 © Michael Heizer

Installation view, Michael Heizer, Gagosian, Le Bourget, France, October 16, 2018–July 6, 2019. Artwork © Michael Heizer. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Talk

Michael Govan on Michael Heizer

Saturday, March 16, 2019, 2:30pm
Gagosian, 4 rue de Ponthieu, Paris

This event has been canceled. 

The CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will discuss the exhibition Michael Heizer, currently on view at Gagosian, Le Bourget, which presents works dating from 1968 to the present. Over fifty years, Michael Heizer has redefined the very idea of sculpture in his explorations of size, mass, and process. His earth-moving constructions, paintings, and drawings explore the dynamics of positive and negative space. To attend the free event, RSVP to rsvplebourget@gagosian.com.

Installation view, Michael Heizer, Gagosian, Le Bourget, France, October 16, 2018–July 6, 2019. Artwork © Michael Heizer. Photo: Thomas Lannes

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Museum Exhibitions

Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Mushroom Room, 2000 © Carsten Höller. Photo by Attilio Maranzano, courtesy Fondazione Prada

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Atlas

April 20–July 22, 2018
Fondazione Prada, Milan
www.fondazioneprada.org

The group of exhibited artworks, realized between 1960 and 2016, represents a possible mapping of the ideas and visions that have guided the creation of the collection and the collaborations with the artists  that have contributed to the activities of the foundation throughout the years. Work by Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Damien Hirst, Carsten Höller, and Jeff Koons is included.

Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Mushroom Room, 2000 © Carsten Höller. Photo by Attilio Maranzano, courtesy Fondazione Prada

Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986 © Jeff Koons.Photo by Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

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We Are Here

August 19, 2017–April 1, 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
mcachicago.org

In honor of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s fiftieth anniversary, the museum presents We Are Here, a three-part exhibition drawn from its collection. I Am You gathers works that question how we relate to and shape our environments; You Are Here examines how the role of the viewer has changed over time; and We Are Everywhere showcases artists who borrow from popular culture. Work by Richard Artschwager, Francis Bacon, Chris Burden, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Michael Heizer, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel, Andy Warhol, and Franz West is included.

Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986 © Jeff Koons.
Photo by Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Michael Heizer, Double Negative, 1969

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Los Angeles to New York
Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971

March 19–September 10, 2017
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
www.lacma.org

This exhibition features modern and contemporary works from the personal collection of gallerist Virginia Dwan. The selection has been culled from Dwan’s promised gift to Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art, which includes major works by American artists based on the East and West Coasts. The exhibition aims to illustrate Dwan’s creative spirit and her close association with Minimalism, conceptual art, and large-scale Earthworks. Included are artists Arakawa, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, and Yves Klein.

Michael Heizer, Double Negative, 1969

Press

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