LACMA’s Levitated Mass

Posted on March 12, 2012


Late last Friday night, Los Angeles’ biggest rock star finally reached Wilshire Boulevard.

The 340 ton rock is set to become Michael Heizer’s latest work, Levitated Mass, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Now that the lugging of this giant from Riverside to LA is over, the hard part begins- balancing it over a 456 foot long concrete trench 15 deep. Once the trench is complete art goers will be able to walk beneath the monster rock creating the illusion that it is floating over their heads.

While the complexity of this project has been compared to  Stonehenge, LACMA Director Michael Govan has pointed out “it’s not determined by the stars or anything…just by the placement of a parking garage underneath and the length of the property.”

Most of Heizer’s work, such as Double Negative (a 1,500 foot trench cut in the Mormon Mesa in Nevada) can be found in the open wilds of Nevada, so the Levitating Mass will be his first metropolitan representation. Beyond being an easily accessible piece to urban art patrons, the rock will act as a superior roadside attraction to any passing tourists.

Placing the rock over its trench will be tricky, but nothing about this project was more grueling than the journey it took to get to this point. Planning the route needed to get the mass from a to b required absolute precision- down to the inches. In order to transport the stone 60 miles, Govan had to coordinate with four counties, 22 cities, and several tiny bureaucracies.

A custom, 200 foot rig with 176 wheels that evenly distributed the stone’s weight evenly was needed in order to earn certification as road-worthy by the Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol. With two 600 horsepower tractors attached to either end, the rig was almost the length of a football field.

Then there was convincing city bureaucrats, who project managers had to walk through every turn in order to make them fully understand and convinced that transporting the rock wouldn’t damage their municipalities’ roads. Now this is where having a map comes in handy. There’s nothing more convincing than a geographic visual that can walk viewers street by street through an exact plan. Whether or not you plan on moving a football field from Riverside to LA, we can offer you the best visual display for presentation and planning. With custom logos, icons, labels, shading, and more, MarketMAPS works to bring you exactly what you need.

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