Today, President Obama designated a 704,000 acre (1,100 square mile) area of rural land in Nevada, where artist Michael Heizer’s masterpiece “City” resides, as a national monument. Home to deserts and mountain ranges, the land that sits between Nye and Lincoln counties is the largest site the president has singled out using the 1906 Antiquities Act to preserve items “of historic or scientific interest.” Besides the massive artscape, which spans about 1-1/4 miles, the land is also home to ancient archeological sites, including Native American trails, Paleoindian-era rock drawings, and remains of 19th-century settlements.
The announcement was made today at a White House ceremony, attended by Michael Govan, Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) director, and Elaine Wynn, LACMA’s board co-chair, and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). In March, LACMA launched the #ProtectCITY campaign to raise awareness of environmental threats to the land. Although it would not directly impact Heizer’s work, the site's barren aspect is integral to the effect of the geometric land sculptures for visitors.
As Scott Tennent, LACMA’s director of executive communications put it on the museums’ Unframed blog, “the solitude of ‘City’ is part of its power.”