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Group Seeks to Preserve the Desert Around Michael Heizer's Monumental Earth Art

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For 43 years, the pioneering land artist Michael Heizer has been building massive sculptures made of earthen materials in the Nevada desert. His monumental project, called "City," was inspired by ancient Mayan complexes and Native American burial mounds, and is intended to last for several millennia. Built on a remote sliver of private land 160 miles from Vegas, "City" is the Nevada-based artist's life's work, considered one of the most significant pieces of art in the U.S. Yet for several years, the desert around the sculpture has been threatened with development. Now a preservation group is trying to get the scenic land, known as Basin and Range, declared a protected area.

"City" is currently about 900 feet wide, about the size of the DC's National Mall, and encompasses five major structures. The surrounding land has been repeatedly been floated as an option for mining, oil and gas exploration, as well as a possible missile site. In addition to Heizer's artwork, the Basin and Range land is also home to ancient rock art, Native American pathways, and unique geological features.

"The solitude of City is part of its power," writes Scott Tennent of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "To see the land developed into a site for military, energy, or waste purposes, would ruin it forever."

· Protect Michael Heizer's "City" [LACMA]
· All Preservation Watch posts [Curbed National]