The Rock (Levitated Mass)

03/10/2012

Updated (6/28/12):

Levitated Mass rock, LACMA, Los Angeles

Walking on the way to CBS last Friday, I noticed something – there sat the “Levitated Mass” rock all by itself, uncovered and alone, with temporary fencing still around the premises. I thought it odd that there had seemingly been no fanfare or updates about it lately. In order to not be late to my meeting, I planned on snapping some pictures of the exhibit on the way back home.

In the few hours that had passed, though, the giant rock had been covered back up by what was basically the biggest car cover you’d see ’cause, you know, it was customized for a boulder. At that moment, workers were tying up the strings at the bottom. “That’s so weird they’re covering it back up,” I thought.

I made another trip to CBS on Monday, and the temporary fencing and rock’s “car cover” were gone. People were happily walking down the slope, taking photos, and discussing Levitated Mass and all the challenges and criticism the exhibit brought.

Now having walked under it and checked it out, I still don’t get it. As you walk down the slope, it’s supposed to appear as if the boulder is floating. Well, that’s pretty dang hard to imagine, considering it’s supported on two sides. Maybe you can see it, but I can’t.

Anyway, I am happy to be so close to something that some people out there would like to see. I get the desire, but I advise against making a special trip to see the exhibit! Overall, LACMA is pretty lacking compared to the Getty Museum (which is free!), but LACMA sometimes does offer great exhibits, and the La Brea Tar Pits are also right next door. It’s free to visit Levitated Mass, and that makes it the best part.

Original Post (3/10/12):

Levitated Mass rock by J Kilmer
Levitated Mass rock, a photo by J Kilmer on Flickr.

Apparently some people still haven’t yet heard about this utterly chaotic display the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is working on. It’s a 340 ton boulder that, as of this morning, has just completed the 11 day, 100+ mile trek from a quarry in Riverside, CA to here – the Miracle Mile section of Los Angeles.

The move required a massive trailer contraption with 196 wheels, powered by three trucks, and was moved only during the night so as to not bump up L.A. traffic a notch, from really, really bad to really, really, really bad. Light poles and traffic lights had to be taken down along the way and certain bridges and roads had to be avoided since, of course, 680,000 lbs. greatly exceeds the weight a typical truck might be hauling on any random day.

Given the $10,000,000 price tag for the whole operation, the whole thing seems kinda….stupid. Thankfully, however, funding came from private donations, and I will give it a fair chance once the exhibit opens at LACMA.

What comes next is the rock will be moved parallel to the display and, somehow, will be hoisted onto its supports. “Levitated Mass,” as it’s to be called, will consist of the large boulder with a channel running underneath it, so that visitors can walk under the rock.

It’s expected that the exhibit will open sometime during this coming summer.

LACMA
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Levitated Mass rock, LACMA, Los Angeles

The channel where the Levitated Mass boulder will rest

Levitated Mass, LACMA, Los Angeles

196 wheels and a whole bunch of axles

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