Michael Heizer, 1944–, American sculptor, b. Berkeley, Calif., studied San Francisco Art Institute (1963–64). Heizer was one of the artists who developed land art in the late 1960s and early 70s. After he moved (1967) to Nevada and California from New York, he created monumental works in which swaths of earth were moved to create large geometrical forms, e.g., North, East, South, West 1 (1967), made of holes dug in the Sierra Nevada, and Double Negative (1969) a massive 1,500-ft/457-m trench cut through facing cliffs in a Nevada canyon. He also made a series of paintings in which powdered dyes were used to create vast patterns over the Nevadan desert. Heizer's most ambitious project is City, a vast sculptural complex constructed of concrete and earth in a desert valley in Nevada. Inspired by ancient ruins and begun in 1971, it is still unfinished. Levitated Mass (2012), a 340-ton boulder suspended over a walkway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, appears to be levitating to visitors who walk beneath it.
See studies by D. C. McGill (1990), M. C. Taylor (1991), G. Celant (1996), and P. von Rosen (2005); museum catalogs by Julia Brown (1984) and M. Heizer (1985).