Levitated Mass: Planning for the Final Leg of the Journey

For those of you following the journey of the megalith that is to be part of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, Friday night is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Starting around 10–11 pm, the transporter will leave its last stop—on Figueroa Street just north of Florence Avenue—and will travel its final leg to LACMA.

Megalith slated to become part of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, during transport to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Michael Heizer, photo by Tom Vinetz

The transporter will travel north on Figueroa, going right past Exposition Park and the USC campus. It will turn left onto West Adams Boulevard and will cross Hoover, Vermont, and Normandie before turning right onto Western Avenue. From Western it will hang a left on Wilshire for the home stretch! (See the entire route the transporter has traveled.)

The big question, of course, is when all of this will happen. Unfortunately we can’t be very specific as the journey itself is complicated and it’s impossible to say how quickly or slowly the transporter will make each turn, get through each intersection, etc. For now, we are estimating that the transporter will arrive at the museum between 2–6 am.

The best way to keep tabs on the transporter’s whereabouts will be to follow @LACMA on Twitter. We will be in the truck, traveling the whole route with the boulder and keeping you up to date all night long. If you’re out there tweeting too, use hashtag #LevitatedMass so we can see what you’re saying and retweet to our audience. No matter where you are along the route, you’ll know when to expect the boulder to go by if you follow our Twitter updates.

You’ll have opportunities all along the route to see the transporter go by. Road closures along the route will occur as it moves, so plan accordingly. Our best advice is to travel on streets parallel to the transporter in order to drive unimpeded.

If you want to see it actually arrive at LACMA, here’s some more helpful info:

  • The museum itself will be closed, but the action is on Wilshire Boulevard.
  • Parking will be available in LACMA’s lot at the corner of Wilshire and Spaulding Avenue (free). Our underground Sixth Street lot will be closed.
  • Parking at the Petersen Museum, located on Wilshire and Fairfax, will also be available ($10, enter from Fairfax). You can try to find street parking too, but please read all signs in the area before parking.
  • There will be bathrooms available at Ogden and Wilshire, directly across the street from Urban Light.
  • Note that Stark Bar will be open regular hours—closing at 11 pm. We will have a coffee cart next to Urban Light starting at 11 pm.
  • Food trucks will be parked at Ogden and Wilshire—No Tomatoes and Waffles de Liege.

When the transporter finally gets to the museum, it will turn from Wilshire onto Fairfax and then enter the museum from behind LACMA West. It will pull up right next to the slot that is the other major component of the work. For Saturday and Sunday only, we’ll remove part of the construction fencing so you can get a good look at the transporter before it is disassembled. Starting Monday, everything goes under wraps—as much as you can put a 340-ton boulder under wraps. The next time you’ll get a chance to see it up close, it will be a finished artwork. As of now we are expecting to open Levitated Mass to the public in the early summer. Keep your eyes on Unframed or the Levitated Mass page for updates on an opening date.

Scott Tennent

19 Responses to Levitated Mass: Planning for the Final Leg of the Journey

  1. Robert J. Wunsch says:

    A collossal outrageous waste of money and energy considering the many uses to which thirteen million dollars could have been used; a total self-indulgent “art” fraud.

  2. Trish says:

    Waste of money? That’s in the eye of the beholder. But in any case, it isn’t public money, so the public has no cause to complain.

  3. JP Munro says:

    Pretty cool art. I like it it never leaves. Robert Wunsch, thou art fool.

  4. Diane Warner says:

    Art as in beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How much money do you think it takes to make one ‘crappy’ Hollywood movie? One actor alone can make $20m. $13m is probably what is spent on advertising for the movie.

    Levitated Mass has brought attention to one of the city’s, no world’s first class art museums. In1899 similar thoughts were expressed-during the construction of the Eiffel Tower, a petition was distributed by the local citizens demanding that it be dismantled. Locals thought that the tower was an eyesore. Closer to home? Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the Statue of Liberty and the Americans provide the pedestal and the site. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds and interest siting that the statue was too large, unattractive and would be too expensive to maintain.

    As history has shown us, I will wait until the installsation is complete before expressing an opinion, especially a negative one.

  5. Robert Newport says:

    If ‘Levitated Mass’ is what I hope it is to be, It will be the crowning success of man’s ability to bring his cartoonish fantasies to life. I am excited and will be there to watch it happen.

  6. Joel says:

    Um, can you specify what the fraud is? Is money a fraud, because I’m 100% behind you there. In a future socialist California Republic, the County would actually be able to pay to move its own art, rather than depend on private donations. Do you mean that art as a whole is a fraud? I might agree with that but I’d like to know more…I studied “French Theory”, you know. And if you’re saying that this piece of art specifically is a fraud, then you’re a critic and you need to writing for ArtForum, not some comment box where you risk being accused by the hoi polloi of playing the right-wing kook has-been who bitches about every penny anyone else spends, yet is never held accountable for his own spending nor offers any reasonable alternatives.

    To the rest of you…sorry, it’s been a long night.

  7. Nanci Schrieber-Smith says:

    When looking at a painting on the museum wall we can only wonder what it was like to watch that artist prepare the palette, the canvas the composition.

    Levitated Mass is Not YET an artwork as it travels to LACMA, but rather it is a rare event in which we get to be a witness to a small part of the process of “the making of” this monumental sculpture.

    When was the last time you were able to watch an artist work in the studio?

    I, for one, look forward to the opportunity to experience Levitated Mass in its final destination. The experience can only be enriched by my having watched the transport.

    Emmert International and all the others who have helped to facilitate this transport have not only made this possible, but have made the transport of 340tons look as graceful as a ballet. (especially turning corners)


  8. Mr. Wunsch, please lighten up. It’s the equivalent of about a half hour of the Iraq war.

  9. Loved following it last night. It was a wonderful experience. Everyone was polite and families were involved. Loved seeing the looks on the children’s faces when the “Big Rock” would pass by. Watching them turn the corner on Carson and Vermont was a once in a lifetime event. Our praise to Emmert Int’l for all of the planning it took to make this happen.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Waiting for the first lawsuit by a future victim’s family when the rock falls onto someone once installed at the museum.

    Also: an enormous, obscene waste of money. Those millions of dollars money could for example have provided much joy for many homeless children in the form of art supplies, backpacks, food, field trips, toys. I know because I’ve voluntered with children on Skid Row in downtown L.A. Truly amazing kids who never ask for anything and who lead lives the rest of us can barely imagine. Oh, and please have superspoiled brats Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Kim K, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, etc. etc. volunteer there.

  11. Mabel says:

    The money that is being spent to move “the rock” is going into the local economy. People get paid to do it and they turn around and spend what they earned in the local economy. And for as long as it sits near 6th and Fairfax being viewed by museum goers, they will always think about how it got there. It is part of the viewing experience.

  12. Jonas Thaler says:

    We in the US need to spend many more billions of public dollars on public art and art education than we do now. And many more trillions researching and curing illness, poverty, social injustice, etc. I am proud of LACMA for getting involved in this and proud of LA for having LACMA. I wish my late friend Jim Elliott, the museums first curator, if I’m not mistaken, were alive to see this!

    And we will have plenty of money when we stop the endless war puppetmastering.

  13. bobowen says:

    we all need a rest from the hectic pace of our personal lives. and then there is the unending national political circus, hostilities in the ever-volatile middle east; storm recovery in the country’s heartland; sad memories and continuing repair in japan; and the continuing plight of homeless people…seemingly everywhere.

    i find i relaxing, rewarding and reassuring to know that in the midst of it all, we fortunate denizens of los angeles have our own PET ROCK that doesn’t rock or roll but somehow causes us to do so. i went by the site this morning and took lots of pictures….finding joy in placing myself between “a rock and (the planet’s often) hard place.”


  14. Charlie Groh says:

    …bottom line is the economy; this art piece is putting back far, far more than most. Bravo the concept, bravo the fact that people are employed doing all there is to do surrounding the project and bravo the execution of the move! A slight negative was this AM when I drove from the OC up to the site hoping to get some finalizing shots, only to find that the fencing was still up preventing, mostly, what me and many others sought to do. That said, here’s a link to my blog re. a segment of the move:


    All in all, thumbs up LACMA!

  15. Donna says:

    bobowen –

    AMEN to that!

    The Big Rock pulled my community together in a way I haven’t witnessed since I moved here many years ago. Tired, expectant, hopeful people waiting for hours along the street were rewarded with an almost indescribable experience. Being near the rock as it moves by is totally unlike seeing pictures or video. Watching something of that size and mass rolling along was almost a spiritual experience. As it went by, many of us were compelled to follow it, and ran off after it until it came to a corner and turned. We watched until it was out of sight, then sighed and smiled, and collectively turned for home, content.

    Many things cost a lot of money. Many of those things make absolutely no difference in anyone’s lives, no matter what their proponents want to believe. Strange as it may seem, this bizarre event has had nothing but a delightful impact on everyone I know who has experienced it. The crew was wonderful (the transporter stopped a few times, and they were friendly and easy-going, happy to talk about the project). The money will move through the world as it always does, providing paychecks, stimulating business, making its way in the economic cycle.

    Meanwhile, a wonderful time was had by all, and a unique and happy memory was gifted to everyone who is now united in their status as ‘witnesses to the moving of the great rock’. Neighbor kids that I have never seen play outside are now interested in rocks, minerals, and natural things in general. They experienced genuine awe for the first time in their lives (as did, I suspect, many adults). There is real value in that, and it does not depend on having a rational outcome that would satisfy social justice or any other contemporary value (and that said by an activist in favor of many forms of social justice). Life without raw wonder and ‘purposeless’ beauty is not worth living – nor would the world be any better off if the rock had never moved.

  16. John Shannon says:

    Based on this comment in the LACMA info: “For Saturday and Sunday only, we’ll remove part of the construction fencing so you can get a good look at the transporter before it is disassembled” my friends and I visited the rock Saturday evening. As far as we could see, no part of the fencing had been removed, even the opaque sightscreening. It was almost impossible to get a view of the rock or transporter, except through a few slits someone had cut in the screen. I was very annoyed.

  17. Alex says:

    Can we climb the rock? rocks are for climbing

  18. Nanci says:

    You are partially correct. Some rocks are for climbing.

    But not all rocks are for climbing. And this rock is one of those.

    I suggest you go to Joshua Tree National Park to climb rocks. Plenty of really cool ones there to satisfy your needs.

  19. Nanci says:

    Oh, Alex, BTW some rocks are for skipping across the water.

    You may have noticed that this one doesn’t qualify for that purpose either.

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