TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT February 1990

DESERT SONG

THOSE WHO HAVE “SEEN” Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, 1969–70, have likely seen the grainy aerial view reproduced on the cover of the 1984 catalogue from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Here, the perspective delivers the long stroke of excavation in a glance, fixing its inscription across the Nevada desert landscape. But to stand by the actual sculpture, to view it from the ground it is made of, to walk around it and to walk through it, offers another perspective entirely, one informed by the distances you must cross to experience this now 20-year-old earthwork face-to-face. For earthworks are, by definition, manipulations of land, not of film emulsion. As an earthwork is seen in the light, both literally and figuratively, of the land around it, it takes on different meaning, and delivers its messages in that context. And in the trip by car to the bluff above Overton where

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