Let’s just start with this declaration: I can never run for political office. I change my mind entirely too often, so go ahead and call me a waffler. I know I previously indicated I thought the traveling shrink-wrapped boulder was a little over-the-top, even by Los Angeles standards, but after learning a bit more about the project, I reconsidered my previous skepticism.
It’s been impossible to ignore the hype…and there’s been a lot of that! Crowds have followed the boulder from city to city, and by the time it reached the Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach on Wednesday somewhere close to 20,000 people came out for a street festival in honor of the rock. Is it silly? Well, maybe a little, but then another way of looking at is people gathered for some good, clean fun! Given the cares most people are carrying, I’m for it, silly or not!
Since I first posted, I also learned a little bit more about the artist, Michael Heizer, a contemporary artist hard to ignore. He certainly captures the imagination! One of his other large-scale sculptures, Double Negative (Nevada) consists of a long trench, 30 feet wide and 50 feet deep, created by displacement of 240,000 tons of rock. Another major work, City, is a piece of Nevada earth art, and is one of the largest sculptures ever created. Earth, rocks and concrete comprise five individual phases, each consisting of a number of complexes, some with structures reaching 80 feet high. Maybe I just respond to someone conceptualizing, planning and executing something this huge!
Well, no matter what we think of it, the street parties are over. The star of the show traveled through the night and arrived early this morning at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to eventually perch above a 456-foot trench as the centerpiece of Heizer’s Levitated Mass. I chuckled at one newspaper article referencing the daring of this suspended boulder in earthquake country, but there’s nothing about this project that strikes me as particularly practical.
Yes, it’s just a rock, but it’s a very big rock. My curiosity got the better of me and I have a very supportive husband! We took off on a short trip into Los Angeles yesterday just to see for ourselves. It was just too close to home not to at least check it out. Radio and television news crews, amateur and professional photographers documenting the event and people of all ages stood, as we did, too, just gawking. That’s about all we could do, but we did it for a good 30 minutes. Not just because of the rock itself, but the rig that transported it was as fascinating to me as anything else. A 196-wheeled transporter designed by NASA for carrying rockets was worth seeing. The rock is indeed “shrink-wrapped” and braced for safety making it difficult to see in its entirety, but we’ll make our way to LACMA this summer and give our final opinion. I hope we’ll just have some fun with it.
Why not take some time this weekend to find out what’s happening at your local art museums! Spend some time in the galleries with artists you may not know well. What a nice way to relax and maybe breathe a little lighter!
- You: LACMA’s boulder is drawing crowds in downtown Bixby Knolls (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Artist Heizer’s big rock rolling toward LA museum (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Artist Heizer’s big rock rolling toward LA museum (mysanantonio.com)