News Register for our weekly news digest here.

View of Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, 1969.
View of Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, 1969.

Nevada Solar Power Project Threatens Michael Heizer’s Iconic Double Negative

A solar power plant currently in the works near Overton, Nevada, could occlude views surrounding Michael Heizer’s massive 1969 Land art work Double Negative, The Art Newspaper reports. Visitors to the work, which consists of two fifty-foot-deep trenches spanning a remote natural canyon, would be greeted by the sight of the Battle Born Solar Project, which is slated to occupy some 9,000 acres atop the nearby Mormon Mesa.

“We have been told there would still be access to Double Negative, but the power of the place would be lost forever,” says Lisa Childs, founder of the grassroots initiative Save Our Mesa, which is additionally protesting the development on the grounds that it would encroach on proximate archaeological sites and endanger local wildlife such as the desert tortoise. “Thousands of visitors flock to the Mormon Mesa each year. We are not against renewable energy but we feel it needs to be placed more responsibly.”

Mormon Mesa is mainly owned by the federal government and overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, which means that the billion-dollar project, put forth by the California-based renewable energy company Arevia Power, must still pass an environmental screening process before being approved.

Double Negative is not the first of Heizer’s works to be imperiled by development. His 1969 Munich Depression, a hundred-foot-wide, sixteen-foot-deep crater in a suburb of the titular city, was filled in within weeks of its creation and is now the site of apartment buildings. His massive City, a web of earthworks on which the artist has been working in the Nevada desert since the 1970s, was for years menaced by a proposed rail line to accommodate trains carrying nuclear waste to a repository in Yucca Mountain. The threat was successfully fended off by the nonprofit Triple Aught Foundation, which in 2015 won federal protection for more than 800,000 acres surrounding the work.