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Ott Fleming Heizer and John Heizer Ephemera Archive


Summary Note

Materials include: Family memorabilia, historical mining documents and items, rock sample, artists sketches and book.

Biographical Note

Michael Heizer’s grandfather Ott F. Heizer (1881-1958) emigrated from Virginia to Nevada as a young man and was in the first graduating class of the Mackay School of Mines. He went on to a long career in Nevada mining, working in Fairview, Seven Troughs, and other places before settling in to work at Tungsten and other producing mines and mills in north-central Nevada. His son John soon became the mine and mill manager of major producing mines, was backed by the California banker and financier Charles Segerstrom, and ended up managing the Nevada-Massachusetts Mining Co. at Mill City and the mill at Sulfur, Nevada. John’s brother Robert was the artist Michael Heizer’s father.

Scope and Content

This unique archive provides historical and familial context to the life of contemporary artist Michael Heizer. The materials come from the estate of Michael Heizer’s uncle, John Heizer (1911-1997), whose brother Robert Heizer (1915-1979) was Michael’s father. While Robert was a noted anthropologist whose influence on his son’s Land Art projects is apparent, similar influences—such as an interest in excavation and the displacement of soils—can be traced to the family’s history in Nevada’s mining industry.

Among the items in this archive are Ott Heizer’s diploma from assayer’s school, along with his personal copy of a book on the artist Frederic Remington, who Michael Heizer cites as one of his favorite artists. Among other items are John Heizer’s mining stock certificates, a gold-laden quartz sample, and correspondence regarding water rights battles. A parallel might be drawn to the water rights battles that Michael Heizer waged decades later for his Garden Valley property in south central Nevada and the site of his magnum opus, City.


This archive is arranged in folders by personal name in geneological order.
  • 1 Ott Fleming Heizer: 1902
  • 2 John Heizer: Mining and Water rights, 1941 - 1987
  • 3 Buck Nimy: Artist, 1940s – 1987

Inclusive Dates


Bulk Dates


Quantity / Extent

.25 cubic feet



Related Archive Collections

  • CAE0901: The Deiro Collection
  • CAE0909: Arcy Douglass: Land Arts Investigations and Writings
  • CAE1111: William L. Fox—Michael Heizer
  • CAE1212: 871 Fine Arts: Land Arts Ephemera
  • CAE1714: Owen Gump: Desert Works

Related Publications

Beacham, Jon, and Michael Heizer. Coyotes, Silver Slippers, Pumas, Mesquite ... and Word List Extracted & Edited: Selective List of Uses for Welding Electrodes: Michael Heizer. Tivoli, NY: The Brother In Elysium, 2015.

Camfield, William A. Michael Heizer: 45°, 90°, 180°: A Sculpture for Rice University. Houston, TX: Rice University, Farish Gallery, School of Architecture, 1985.

Celant, Germano. Michael Heizer. Milan, Italy: Fondazione Prada, 1997.

Durham Press. Michael Heizer, Tom Slaughter, Ray Charles White, Scott Kilgour, John Giorno, Robert Harms, Daniel Villeneuve, Beatriz Milhazes. Durham, Pa: Durham Press, 1996.

Felix, Zdenek. Michael Heizer. Essen, Germany, Otterlo, Netherlands: Museum Folkwang; Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, 1979.

Fox, William L., The Void, The Grid, & The Sign: Traversing the Great Basin. Salt Lake City, Utah: The University of Utah Press, 2000.

Gorgoni, Gianfranco. The New Avant-Garde: Issues for the Art of the Seventies. New York, NY: Praeger, 1972.

Harold’s Club. Nevada, the First Hundred Years; A Portfolio of Paintings. Reno, NV: Great Western Publishing Co., 1964.

Hedger, Michael Albert. Larger than Life: Size, Scale and the Imaginary in the Work of Land Artists Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Dennis Oppenheim. Sidney, N.S.W.: University of New South Wales. Art & Design, 2014.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer. Innsbruck, Austria: Galerie im Taxispalais, 1977.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer. London, England: Waddington Galleries, 1990.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer: Actual Size. Detroit, MI: Detroit Institute of the Arts, 1971.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer: Double Negative. New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA: Rizzoli; Museum of Contemporary Art, 1991.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer: New Sculpture. New York, NY: M. Knoedler & Co., 1988.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer: New Sculpture. Tokyo, Japan: Akira Ikeda Gallery, 1988.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer: Photographic and Actual Works. Detroit, MI: Detroit Institute of the Arts, 1971.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer: Sculpture in Reverse. Los Angeles CA: Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984.

Heizer, Michael. Michael Heizer—Dragged Mass Geometric. New York, NY: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1985.

Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer’s Monolithic Sculpture. Directed by Doug Pray. New York, NY: First Run Features, 2014. DVD.

Lewis, David P. The Size of City: Michael Heizer’s Masterpiece as Architecture. Cardiff, Wales: Dissertation, Cardiff University, 2010.

McGill, Douglas C. Michael Heizer: Effigy Tumuli: The Reemergence of Ancient Mound Building. New York, NY: H.N. Abrams, 1990.

Vander Weg, Kara. Ed., Michael Heizer: Alters. New York, NY: Gagosian Gallery, 2016.

Container Listing:

  • CAE Box 124

    • Folder 1 Ott Fleming Heizer, 1902 – 1951
    • Folder 2 John Heizer, Mining and Water rights, 1940 – 1987
    • Folder 3 Buck Nimy, Artist, 1940

Additional Materials

    CAE Box

    • 1#4a Gold in Quartz with Malachite/Azurite, Rock with minerals, Not dated

    CAE Flat File F25 Oversized Items

    • 1#2 Hospital for Children, Training School for Nurses Diploma for Martha Ellan Madden, Diploma, 1908
    • 1#3 House of Solomon’s Masonic Certificate, Freemasonry 32nd Rank for Ott Fleming Heizer, Assayer, Certificate, 1907
    • 3#13 Settin’ Tight, Blueline Print, Not dated
    • 3#14a My Loop Spread Out and Soon Took the Wind out of His Sails, Print, Not dated
    • 3#14b My Loop Spread Out and Soon Took the Wind out of His Sails, Blueline Print, Not dated
    • 3#15a The Last Mile, Print, Not dated
    • 3#15b The Last Mile, Blueline Print, Not dated
    • 3#16a The Feel of a Rope, Print, Not dated
    • 3#16b The Feel of a Rope, Blueline Print, Not dated
    • 3#17 Dogtown Slim Throwin’ the Bull, Blueline Print, Not dated