Land art pioneer Michael Heizer has been inspired by the Nevada desert for decades, using the Great Basin’s high desert terrain as an ideal backdrop for his larger-than-life installations. We can’t blame him, knowing how particularly stunning most of Nevada’s basin and range desertscapes are. Active in the land art movement since the late 1960s, artist Michael Heizer created his first work in southeastern Nevada with Double Negative. This conceptual art piece refers to both the natural and manmade negative spaces Heizer created in the Mojave Desert landscape. After this work was completed, he took the opposite approach just a few years later with his monumental City.
Heizer’s work on City began in 1972 in Garden Valley, Nevada—which lies almost directly north of the quiet community of Alamo to the tune of about 60 miles. City, by Michael Heizer is out in the middle of Nevada’s mighty Great Basin—with Wayne E. Kirch Wildlife Management Area to the north, and the Mt. Irish Wilderness to the south. Other than that, it’s wide open in this part of the state, and falls within the boundary of Basin and Range National Monument. Despite having worked on this large scale land art project for nearly 50 years, his work here manages to continue to this day. Like his work at Double Negative, Michael Heizer’s City is designed on a massive scale, spanning a little more than a mile long, and a quarter of a mile wide, with some parts of the sculpture standing as tall as 80 feet high. Made from dirt, sand, rocks and concrete, City was formed in five phases, with each of the five phases containing its own substructures within.
Over the course of nearly 50 years City has cost nearly $25 million dollars to build, funded mostly through the Dia Art Foundation and Lannan Foundation. Though City is surrounded by state and federally owned land, the chunk of land City is situated on is privately owned by Heizer, which is closed to the public until completion.
Know Before You Go
City is not yet completed, and visitors of any kind are not welcome just yet. The way the road and private parcel of land is oriented, no part of City can be viewed from the ground without trespassing, though images can be seen online.
City, by Michael Heizer was scheduled to be open and available to the public in the spring of 2020, though the opening date has been delayed. No new updates have been released by Heizer since—please continue to check back for updates about future property accessibility.
When the property is available for public visitation, admission information will be updated. Please check back for hours and admission.