Giant Earthwork Levitated Mass Almost Installed at LACMA

Even if the proposed dangling locomotive by Jeff Koons never comes to fruition, LACMA has a couple of upcoming installations that will get art world wags talking. In addition to Chris Burden's kinetic sculpture Metropolis II that is currently moving from his studio in Topanga into BCAM, the museum is in the process of installing a massive earthwork by Michael Heizer.

Levitated Mass will officially debut in November, but the museum is in the process of transporting and installing the 340-ton, 21 foot boulder that Heizer found in a quarry in Riverside. Apparently, the boulder is equal in height to the Resnick Pavilion, which it is currently being installed behind.

Mass Circumflex by Michael Heizer, 1972

The boulder will sit atop a 456-foot long trench (if you visit the museum, you can see the digging taking place now). Wannabe Indiana Joneses will eventually be able to walk the trench, fifteen feet beneath the boulder, eventually rising back to ground level on the other side. The boulder will seem to rise above you as you walk the length of the trench. According to LACMA, Heizer conceived of the piece in 1968 but didn't discover the right boulder until decades later.

Michael Heizer. Water Strider, of the Effigy Tumuli Sculptures. 1983-85. Buffalo Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL.

LACMA has posted an interview with project manager John Bowsher that explains the incredible amount of engineering and construction this earthwork requires.



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