Travel Theme: Big

Levitated Mass is an art installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It consists of a 456-foot-long slot, upon and at the center of which sits a 340-ton granite megalith. It is BIG! As visitors walk along the slot, it gradually descends to fifteen feet deep, running underneath the megalith before ascending back up.

Michael Heizer, the artist responsible for this installation, dreamed up Levitated Mass more than forty years ago, but only recently found the proper rock for it. The project included an 11-day journey to transport the boulder from a quarry in Riverside County to LACMA, traveling through twenty-two cities.

It’s an impressive work that required some complex engineering, given the weight of the rock and the need to address safety concerns, including those related to earthquakes. Standing under the suspended rock one can’t help but feel small and vulnerable. To me, the only disappointing aspect of the installation is that the huge brackets used to secure the rock are exposed. They are ugly, intrusive, and take away the illusion of a levitated rock. I’m sure this was not Heizer’s choice but most likely an issue of safety.

Levitated Mass was a controversial project from the start. Opponents complained about its cost –many wrongly assumed it was funded by public money– and after the installation was completed, they say it’s ugly and not real art.

This entry is part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme: http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/08/16/travel-theme-big/

15 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Big

  1. hmmm… the question of validity to art is now just getting to me. Hehe. I always thought the transporting and placing was cool visualize it in your head. But yeah, the support does give away the farm and the would-had been a mystery of this piece of ????

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