Kirsten Swenson at Art in America:
The trip to Michael Heizer’s City begins in a city: Las Vegas, city of neon and glass, concrete and gravel. I cannot think about City without reference to its nearest desert metropolis, where water and social safety nets are in short supply. Most visitors to City will begin here. But to experience Land art is not simply to show up at a destination. It is a journey, a series of encounters with different landscapes and the systems that operate in and around them.
City has been on my mind since the early 2000s and my first visit to Heizer’s Double Negative (1969) for a Land art seminar I taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To experience that work, a visitor descends into deep notches blasted from a mesa about 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas, passing between ragged sandstone walls to emerge from the cut and take in sweeping views of the Virgin River Valley. Anyone can visit Double Negative, of which Heizer has said, “There is nothing there, yet it is still a sculpture.”