It is often funny when people think they know which artists I'm most obsessed with. Over the years some have thought the AbEx greats or Donald Judd. I understand
why they might think these things but they are wrong. The artist who I've thought most about since a massive
8,000 mile land art road trip is Michael Heizer. Without Heizer we don't have
Smithson or Walter De Maria and I don't even feel like Double Negative
is his best work.
As a child Heizer, grew up in archeological digs
throughout the vastness of the Western United States and then passed some of
that experience onto his art friends at a crucial time.. but he's actually the
most interesting of the three. He considers New York's art world kinda soft
(because it is if you are used to living in the harshness of the Nevada desert)
and will likely only open his masterwork City
to the public only when he dies.
a house-sized rock on the rim of Meteor Crater in Arizona, center (photo Jeff Jahn)
All of this makes the spectacle
around his latest project for LACMA
seem like a diminutive sideshow. It
does bode well though for how his work will be received once the world can see
his main focus. As it stands Levitated Mass is at best medium level work for
Heizer but it is good that the city folk are getting worked up. In fact, Heizer
once had the jones for even larger rocks, like the house sized one on the rim
of Meteor Crater in Arizona.
What impresses me most about Heizer is his toughness and the way he thinks
in massive geological and anthropological terms. Lots of artists think bigger
is better but perhaps only Heizer and Richard Serra have been able to back it
up... and what's more Heizer's work seems to step outside time. It is never
about the latest technology like Serra can have as a sub plot. Instead the plot
is always the same... dealing with the innate basic forces of the planet. In
short he mocks human vanity while embracing its innate hubris as an unavoidable
consequence of our existence. The fact that he has all
of LA watching one medium sized rock
must make him chuckle. Good for him,
artists should have the last laugh and for once it is nice to see Art grandstanding
more than the movie industry in LA. I like the way art places demands on civilization,
it is the opposite of entertainment.
"Without Heizer we don't have Smithson or Walter De Maria" Humm... not so sure. Did you forget "Art Yard" by Walter De Maria? May 1960...
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