City is a piece of earth art located in Garden Valley, a desert valley in rural Lincoln County in the U.S. state of Nevada, near the border with Nye County. The work was begun in 1972 by the artist Michael Heizer and is ongoing. Like his previous Double Negative (1969), City is designed and executed on a massive scale. Covering a space approximately one and a quarter miles long and more than a quarter of a mile wide (2 km by 0.4 km, roughly the scale of the National Mall), City is one of the largest sculptures ever created. Using earth, rocks and concrete as building materials and assembled with heavy machinery, the work comprises five phases, each consisting of a number of structures referred to as complexes, with some of the structures reaching a height of eighty feet.
City attempts to synthesize ancient monuments, Minimalism and industrial technology. The work derives inspiration from Mississippian mounds, Mesoamerican ball courts and Pre-Columbian sites like La Venta as well as Modernism. Heizer also cites an interest in the ceremonial squares and associated civic monuments of cites.
In recent years the work has been threatened by the proposed Yucca Mountain Repository, a U.S. Department of Energy terminal storage facility for spent nuclear reactor and other radioactive waste. The proposed route for the railroad that would ferry the waste from Caliente to the disposal site cuts across the same valley as City, and would come within its sightline. Heizer feels this will threaten his sculpture, as the location was selected for its isolation, and prefers to see the tracks redirected through nearby Coal Valley and Murphy Gap.
The cost of City is being financed by several patrons, including the Dia Art Foundation and Lannan Foundation, with an estimated cost of well over twenty five million USD. The work is located on a large parcel of private land owned by the artist and is closed to the public until its completion. Heizer is currently completing the work with a team of roughly a dozen and, as of 2005, anticipated completion before 2010. As of Spring 2013 City is not yet open to the public, but photos may be seen here
- An article about City on Double Negative: A website about Michael Heizer.
- Michael Kimmelman, Art's Last, Lonely Cowboy, The New York Times, Feb. 6, 2005, Accessed Aug. 23, 2006.
- Michael Kimmelman, Michael Heizer: A Sculptor's Colossus of the Desert, The New York Times, Dec. 12, 1999, Accessed Aug. 23, 2006.