If you do something truly innovative there’s a strong likelihood you’ll be called crazy, irresponsible, wasteful, or ridiculous. Artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs often face opposition when trying to break new grounds. So, if you’re pushing the envelope, it helps to have a thick skin and a lot of perseverance.
Artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, soon to be installed on the north lawn of LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion, is an example of innovative and controversial art. It has Angelenos divided between those who love and support it and those who hate and oppose it.
Levitated Mass is a 456-foot-long slot, upon and at the center of which is placed a 340-ton granite megalith. As visitors walk along the slot, it gradually descends to fifteen feet deep, running underneath the megalith before ascending back up. Heizer dreamed up Levitated Mass more than forty years ago, but only recently found the proper boulder for it.
The project, which includes an 11-day journey from a quarry in Riverside County to LA’s Miracle Mile, will travel through twenty-two cities and is expected to arrive at LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion on March 10 if all goes as planned. Check L.A. Times’ pictures of the boulder’s journey so far.
Contrary to what critics think, the project is not funded by taxpayers’ money. It is privately funded and, according to LACMA, it’s actually having a positive impact on the economy. “From the construction teams on site who have been digging the 456-foot-long slot and preparing to install the megalith, to the transport company, to the permitting fees paid to twenty-two cities in four different counties for the transport, a great deal of the privately raised funds for Levitated Mass has gone directly into the local economy.”
I’m with those who support the project and I look forward to seeing Levitated Mass when it comes to fruition. After all, its concept is intriguing and the story behind the project is quite interesting. As for it being too big and expensive, well, maybe it is, but if all mega projects were rejected, some of the world’s most remarkable landmarks would not exist today. They, too, must have faced some form of opposition.
The hype around the “rock on the move” reminds me of last year’s fuss over “Carmageddon,” which made the national news for quite some time. It’s a fun story and just another reason to say “only in L.A…”