Michael Heizer, Double Negative, 1969. Nevada.

In this earthwork, Heizer moved over 240,000 tons of earth to create a great chasm in the Nevada desert that is 1500 feet long x 50 feet deep x 30 feet wide. This work was an immensely difficult piece of engineering, requiring months of work and heavy industrial equipment. The idea of removal as sculpture reaches back to the Renaissance with Michelangelo, who carved his pieces from a single block of marble; Heizer similar uses the sculptural tactic of removal in this piece, but on a massive scale. This piece, like most earthworks, is a post-studio system; that is, it’s unable to be recreated in a gallery, and is site-specific. The only way this piece can be documented is through photographs, which act as a surrogate for the work itself.

 

Posted on October 30 2012, with 259 Notes

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