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University of New South Wales

1. Hedger, Michael. Larger than life: size, scale and the imaginary in the work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim.

Degree: Art, 2014, University of New South Wales

Conventionally understood to be gigantic interventions in remote sites such as the deserts of Utah and Nevada, and packed with characteristics of “romance”, “adventure” and “masculinity”, Land Art (as this thesis shows) is a far more nuanced phenomenon. Through an examination of the work of three seminal artists: Michael Heizer (b. 1944), Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011) and Walter De Maria (1935-2013), the thesis argues for an expanded reading of Land Art; one that recognises the significance of size and scale but which takes a new view of these essential elements. This is achieved first by the introduction of the “imaginary” into the discourse on Land Art through two major literary texts, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and Shelley’s sonnet Ozymandias (1818)—works that, in addition to size and scale, negotiate presence and absence, the whimsical and fantastic, longevity and death, in ways that strongly resonate with Heizer, De Maria and especially Oppenheim. As this thesis also demonstrates (and as conventional readings have overlooked), further complicating Land Art is the fact that size and scale are reiterated concerns in works made for galleries, such as De Maria’s Earth Rooms (1968-77), and Oppenheim’s Two jumps for Dead Dog Creek (1970), as well as works for other urban spaces accessible to the broader public such as Heizer's Levitated Mass (2012), installed in the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. These questions are also rearticulated in gigantic but unrealized projects including De Maria's Three Continent Project, 1968, and Oppenheim’s Swiftian and playful Waiting for the Midnight Special (A thought collision factory for ghost ships), 1979, and in his body / performance works. Advisors/Committee Members: Krell, Alan, College of Fine Arts, UNSW.

Subjects/Keywords: Michael Heizer; Land Art; Earth Art; Walter de Maria; The Lightning Field; Michael Heizer’s City; Double Negative; Effigy Tumuli; Oppenheim’s Time Line; Oppenheim’s “brandings”; Oppenheim’s Annual Rings; Cancelled Crop; Oppenheim's Gallery Transplants; Sculptural mounds; Dennis Oppenheim; Size and scale in art; Absence as presence; Earth Rooms; Levitated Mass; Gulliver’s Travels; Ozymandias; La Venta

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Hedger, M. (2014). Larger than life: size, scale and the imaginary in the work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of New South Wales. Retrieved from http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54419 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:34939/SOURCE02?view=true

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Hedger, Michael. “Larger than life: size, scale and the imaginary in the work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim.” 2014. Doctoral Dissertation, University of New South Wales. Accessed September 18, 2019. http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54419 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:34939/SOURCE02?view=true.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Hedger, Michael. “Larger than life: size, scale and the imaginary in the work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim.” 2014. Web. 18 Sep 2019.

Vancouver:

Hedger M. Larger than life: size, scale and the imaginary in the work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of New South Wales; 2014. [cited 2019 Sep 18]. Available from: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54419 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:34939/SOURCE02?view=true.

Council of Science Editors:

Hedger M. Larger than life: size, scale and the imaginary in the work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of New South Wales; 2014. Available from: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54419 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:34939/SOURCE02?view=true

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