Curiously following the path of the boulder…the BIG one!

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.

I couldn't get a picture of the entire transporter, but can you envision this traveling on local streets?
The main event! Shrink-wrap and all.

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!


36 thoughts on “Curiously following the path of the boulder…the BIG one!

  1. I actually saw this a couple of nights ago on the overnight news. They showed a better view of the rock but nothing of the truck nor was it mentioned. You, here, in 1 picture, did more than they did in a couple minute spot. Maybe you could become the LA roving reporter for WordPress. You’re already doing a better job than the Big Guys. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad I could share this. We stood and gawked with others, but no one was chuckling as much as I was. The news reports today, now that it has reached the destination, have shifted to referring to it as “marble.” Incredible! I think it does show how hungry people are to place attention elsewhere. If it manages to help people cope with anxiety and some depression, so be it! Thanks for the compliments on coverage. I didn’t know until recently how much I enjoy photo-journalism. LOL! Debra

  2. I’m so glad you and JJ went to see Big Red (a.k.a. transporter), and oh yes, the ROCK. To see Big Red in motion would be a thrill for me. I am fascinated by machinery and often wonder about the human minds working together to create such man-made wonders. Oh, sorry, this is about the ROCK. Say it with gusto, “Rock on”!

    I agree with ChgoJohn, you are fast becoming the WordPress LA roving reporter!

    1. Thanks, Ellen. I was enthralled wit the equipment, especially after I heard more about it. Sometime in the future when we’re watching Jeopardy and the question is “What does NASA and LACMA have in common?”–we’ll know how to answer! Let’s get over there as soon as the installation is complete. I’ll let you stand underneath it first…I’m a little freaked out about that! 🙂 D

  3. What a transporter! It amazes me how minds work to solve problems; the mechanics, creativity, ingenuity – not to mention the funding. Good for the two of you for making the effort to participate, Debra. These sort of activities take our mind off of our troubles and worries and give us a chance to think outside of the box, er boulder and, indeed, dear writer, to breath lighter.

    1. Thank you so much, Penny! One of the things that really hit me this week as I listened to the revelry was how starved “we” must be for something novel and a good distraction for our troubles. You also would have enjoyed overhearing parents conversing with their children. Ten year old boys were really loving this! There are more interesting things “out there” for us to discover than we ever have time to follow up on, so I was glad this worked out! D

  4. Glad to know that the rock has reached its destination, Debra, and that you’ve actually seen it and the amazing transporter. the shrink-wrap still makes me giggle, though. 🙂 🙂

    1. I loved the shrink-wrap, too, Perpetua. The reports have been so full of exaggeration that I wasn’t sure. When we first walked up I did laugh out loud–mostly in amazement. I overheard a man with a very big camera saying he was working on a documentary. I hope so. I want to know about the people who figured out how to successfully move this. They literally had to temporarily move power lines! I’ll probably share again when it is installed. I’m feeling a little connected to it now. LOL! Debra

  5. Now, THAT I would like to see, Debra. I hadn’t even heard of this. I love wacky art installations, and this one definitely qualifies. I’ll bet it will look sensational in the LACMA courtyard.

    1. It is a wacky art installation, Andra. I’m going to probably forever feel a little attached to this one now! So glad I could introduce you…later this summer I’ll visit and give you a look without the shrink-wrap! 🙂 Debra

  6. Congratulations on following your curiosity. We should all do it much more often. And what an event you get to experience – even if the culprit was shrink-wrapped and braced for safety. Quite astonishing!

    1. Thank you for your interest, Otto. It has been fun to think about how differently we ALL respond to works of art, but I did feel it was a delight to take part in the enthusiasm of others. That transporter was a BIG vehicle 🙂 Debra

  7. Jackie Paulson

    I love your photo’s! Debra, I wanted to say thank you for your inspirational comments on my blog and always being here for me. You deserve a HUG TODAY, from me to YOU ♥ ~Jackie

    1. Thank you, Jackie. I’ll take the hug! I really enjoy seeing what has your attention…you know I loved those baby photos 🙂 I hope your busy work week starts strong and isn’t too overwhelming! Debra

    1. I think the transporter is amazing, too, Karen. We heard someone speaking of a documentary in the making, and I think it would be fascinating. How they ever engineered this move is genious, whether you’re admiring or not! Debra

  8. There’s that boulder again! Oh my museum thought – I’m waiting to see A Day in Pompeii exhibit … Wait – didn’t we already discuss that? 😉 … hope each of you had a good weekend.

    1. Thank you, Frank. The weekend was its usual blur, and I’m sure that’s true for every busy person! We did talk about the Pompeii Exhibit…so glad you brought it up again, because I want to see if it is coming my way! I’d really be interested. Now I’ll wish you a great week 🙂 Debra

    1. I don’t think there will be any copy-cat artists! This project was a multi-million dollar excavation and transport! I need to google Windsor! I thought I was so familiar with the cities in and around Santa Rosa, but apparently not! Now I’m curious. How lovely to have had an arts weekend! That can be so restorative. Does this mean you’re getting around a bit better now? I hope so!! Debra

  9. Interesting bit of “art”….hmmm….I’d have to see it “perched” before I can form an opinion on this one. BUT – I say any excuse for a street party is a good thing! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Meg. I’m glad it’s been entertaining. I’m having a lot of fun as a blogger…I’m sure the minute I turned a bit of this into a job I’d lose all my enthusiasm! LOL! Debra

  10. Pingback: Inspiration or Nonsense. You be the judge! | breathelighter

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