340 Ton Rock Levitates Above the Ground in Los Angeles

© lacma

It's called Levitated Mass. And yes, it is a floating rock, at an art museum in L.A.(where else!). Created, or should that be engineered by artist Michael Heizer, the project has been 40 years in the making.

Heizer found the rock, all 340 tons of it, in the Nevada desert. And it is perched on a slot that is 465 feet long, outside of the Los Angeles County Museum. Forever. So you can take your time visiting it.

M. Wiener /CC BY 2.0

It was an eleven day journey of 106 miles for the rock to travel from the desert to its new home. It was covered in cotton sheets, and carried on a specially built trailer which was as long as a football field. It moved very slowly--5 mph--through 22 cities, at night. Thousands of people came out every single day and night to watch it travel across Jurupa Valley in Southern California to its final destination. During the day it rested in the middle of the road.

To thank those who put up with road closures and other delays, the museum is giving free admission for a week to people who live in zip code areas where the mighty rock passed.

The artist said "Los Angeles is an automobile culture. What you saw was just the biggest automobile in town going down that road."

© lacma

Heizer is a land artist; noted for his huge works in which the earth itself becomes his palette. One made in 1969-70 was called "Double Negative", two enormous trenches each 50 feet deep and 30 feet wide, with a combined span of 1,500 feet, on the eastern edge of Mormon Mesa, Nevada.

Aspen Art Museum/Promo image

It's already developed a fan club. Heizer said he was not entirely surprised by this: "I think people need a religious object."

One artist created a helium balloon version as part of a Fourth of July float in Aspen, Colorado.

Tags: Artists | Deserts | Los Angeles

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