Talking Big Art in Cabaret Jazz

On the evening of April 7, Cabaret Jazz became the venue for a well-attended presentation by the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center (CAC). The evening featured a talk between Michael Govan, director of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and noted art critic Dave Hickey.

The subject of the talk was on the earthwork, monumental sculptures of Michael Heizer, especially his massive work “City,” located 170 miles north of Las Vegas in an extremely isolated area, Garden Valley.

Heizer is known for his “Double Negative” earthwork near Overton, Nev. and the 340-ton stonework “Levitated Mass” at the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The artist’s “City” has been under construction and relative seclusion since 1970. The artwork is one-and-a-quarter miles long and more than a quarter of a mile wide – nearly the size of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“City” has been in the news recently, as a number of institutions are petitioning for wilderness protection for Garden Valley and surrounding mountain ranges. It’s a controversial space, as the area has been eyed for a potential railroad route for nuclear waste at the currently stalled Yucca Mountain Repository project.

Last September, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada introduced the “Garden Valley Withdrawal Act,” which would set aside the region around “City.” The potential legislation has been referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The CAC talk drew a large crowd, with a part of the draw being Hickey’s participation. A prolific author, former UNLV professor and cultural gadfly, he is a major figure in the American art world.

During the talk with Govan, Hickey – who has a well-known acerbic wit – spoke of the worth of helping preserve “City” as a cultural treasure.

You can watch video highlights of the CAC talk below.

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