LACMA Soon to Welcome 340-Ton Boulder


The royal visit is behind us, but L.A. hasn’t seen the last of this summer’s high-maintenance guests. A 340-ton boulder that will be featured in Michael Heizer’s upcoming exhibit, “Levitated Mass,” at LACMA, is set to make quite an entrance.

Though the museum will not divulge exact numbers, the rock’s pilgrimage from its home at a Riverside granite quarry to Wilshire will reportedly cost around $1.5 million. Too unwieldy for the freeways, the boulder will instead be hauled along city streets on August 5. Utility lines along the route will be taken down to accommodate its 21-foot-tall frame and the rock will be chaperoned by an inspector and a California highway patrol escort. Out of courtesy for local residents, the boulder will graciously limit its odyssey to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night until it reaches the museum on August 15.

Once it arrives on the LACMA campus, the installation will be housed above a trench just north of Resnick Pavilion. Heizer, a notoriously reclusive earth artist, has harbored a penchant for trenches in the past; in 1969 he completed his land art piece “Double Negative,” a 1500-foot-deep trench in Nevada.

Along with the help of a ramp, the trench in “Levitated Mass” will allow visitors to experience the spectacular thrill of walking beneath a colossal slab of granite. In a recent video posted on LACMA’s blog, museum director Michael Govan explains the purpose of the project and addresses the conflicting nature of its title. “There is a very ancient tradition in cultures of moving monoliths to mark a place,” he says. “This rock will mark it very physically, in a very weighty, timeless, and light manner also.”

While the boulder and its 200-foot, 200-wheeled trailer do not exactly scream “light” or “timeless” (the move will extend a 60 mile-drive into a week-long expedition), it’s sure to be something to see—and paparazzi free.

Photograph courtesy

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