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Weekly Art Hit: ‘Adjacent, Against, Upon’ by Michael Heizer

Heizer_CL77.040_MG_9500Happy spring! It’s the second week of our Weekly Art Hit’s 40th anniversary segment, and we’re featuring Michael Heizer’s Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976), located at Myrtle Edwards Park, north of Pier 70. With the sun out a little more these days, it’s a good time to take a walk along the waterfront and enjoy this artwork.

Heizer_CL77.040_MG_9510Adjacent, Against, Upon was one of the first major artworks commissioned by the Seattle Arts Commission.  Monumental in scale and unlike what some might consider “art,” it was initially quite controversial.  The artwork has since gained popular acceptance and has grown to be an important part of the landscape.  The artwork juxtaposes three large granite slabs in different relationships to cast concrete forms. The granite slabs (30 to 50 tons each) were quarried in the Cascade Mountain Range and transported by rail to Seattle where they were moved to Myrtle Edwards Park by barge and several maritime cranes.  The artist supervised the transportation and placement of each block.

Heizer CL77.040.08The granite slabs are placed in a row along the narrow waterfront park, one lying adjacent to a three sided concrete plinth, another resting against an angular four sided plinth, and the last resting atop a five sided plinth. Visitors are able to view the work from a path extending the length of the sculptural arrangement.

The Seattle Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Committee and the Seattle Parks Department made a commitment to pursue the public commissioning of a work by Heizer.  A committee of supporters produced a proposal to obtain a Heizer work, which was accepted by the Arts Commission.   The artwork was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds and private donations provided by the Contemporary Arts Council of the Seattle Art Museum.  Heizer’s large-scale sculptures can be found in museums and public spaces worldwide.


IMAGES: Michael Heizer; Adjacent, Against, Upon; 1976; concrete, granite; 9’H x 25W ‘x130’L. Photos by Spike Mafford Photography.

(Bottom) Adjacent, Against, Upon installation. Photo by Michael Heizer.

Joan Peterson, Public Art