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Michael Heizer

About Michael Heizer

Press Release

  • Michael Heizer's stone sculptures
    PaceWildenstein is pleased to announce an exhibition of Michael Heizer’s stone sculptures, completed between 1988-89, and exhibited together for the first time in the United States. The exhibition, consisting of eight large-scale concrete sculptures mounted on steel or wooden bases, is on extended view at 545 West 22nd Street, New York, from June 28 through September 23, 2006. Throughout his career, Michael Heizer (b. 1944, Berkeley, California) has used stones, rock, and the earth itself as a starting point for most of his artistic inquiries. With the sculptures on view in this exhibition, he extended that process by casting in concrete, immensely magnified versions of Paleolithic and Neolithic stone tools. The sculptures, ranging from 5' to a little over 16' in length, enlarge the familiar forms of man’s earliest creations to the scale of the rock formations from which they might have been chipped. The result is another powerful example of Heizer’s juxtaposition of the hand of nature with the hand of man. Michael Heizer studied briefly at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1963 to 1964, before moving to New York City in 1966 to pursue his career as an artist. A year later, he returned to his roots in the deserts of California and Nevada, becoming one of the founders of the Earthworks movement. Heizer began creating “negative sculptures” in nature by displacing immense amounts of earth, or in the case of a gallery or museum setting, the floor. One of his most famous works, and actually the first work of this magnitude, Double Negative, removed over 240,000 tons of earth to create two vast incisions opposite one another on the edge of Virgin River Mesa in Nevada. Another work, originally created in 1967 in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and reconstructed in 2002 as a permanent installation at Dia: Beacon, North, East, South, West is a geometric sculpture consisting of four separate parts with each shape extending 20 feet below the ground’s surface. In New York City, at the building located at 590 Madison, Heizer permanently installed Levitated Mass, 1982, a fountain made of an 11-ton stone set inside a stainless steel basin of rushing horizontal water. The “lineal code” incised on the top of the stone stands for the building’s address. The work is located on the corner of 56th Street and Madison Avenue. Heizer's first one-person show in New York was mounted at the Dwan Gallery in 1970. That same year he exhibited in the International Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized by the Museum Folkwang, Essen (1979), St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri (1980), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1985), and Fondazione Prada, Milan (1996). Michael Heizer lives in Nevada, where he devotes the majority of his time to completing City, a sculptural complex begun in 1970. The Dia Art Foundation currently supports this project through a grant from the Lannan Foundation. For further information and images please contact Jennifer Benz Joy, Public Relations Associate, at 212.421.3292 or