Levitated Mass Opens Sunday

Way back in the twentieth century—1969, to be precise—Michael Heizer had the idea for an artwork he’d call Levitated Mass. It would be a massive rock perched atop a long slot in the earth. He even got so far as to start creating the artwork in the Nevada desert: he had a 120-ton rock and he dug out the slot. Unfortunately, one of two cranes he was using to mount the rock buckled under the weight, and the project was not completed.

Michael Heizer, sketch for Levitated Mass, 2011, © Michael Heizer

Here we are more than four decades later, and Levitated Mass is complete. The rock is a little heavier (340 tons), the slot is a little longer (456 feet), and the site is a little more accessible (right in the middle of Los Angeles). Also, a few more people know all about it: back in March you couldn’t change the channel or open your local paper without hitting upon the story of the transport of the boulder from Jurupa Valley to LACMA. Thousands of people came out every single day and night to see this boulder move across Southern California to its destination at the museum. And now we’re inviting all of those people—and everyone else, too!—to come see Levitated Mass as it officially opens to the public this Sunday.

We will be holding a public dedication ceremony at 11 am on Sunday. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will join Terry Semel, chair of LACMA’s board of trustees, and LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan in the official opening of the artwork, after which everyone is invited to walk through the slot, under the rock, and out the other side.

The ceremony is free to attend, as is the experience of Levitated Mass (whether you come for the dedication or arrive later in the day). If you’re coming with family, enjoy our free Andell Family Sunday activities while you’re here. We’ll also be tweeting from the ceremony and throughout the day, so follow us (or talk back to us!) on Twitter, hashtag #LevitatedMass.

As a special bonus for those who live in the communities through which the boulder passed on its journey, we are also offering free admission to the rest of our galleries. If your zip code is on this list, simply show proof of residence (a driver’s license will do) at our box office and you’ll be on your way to explore the collection. Can’t make it on Sunday? That offer is good all the way through July 1.

(And one more tip, for everyone, while we’re at it: have you heard about our Summer Pass? Buy a general admission ticket anytime between now and June 30 and you automatically get three free months of membership benefits. That’s free admission any time, discounts in our stores and on tickets for films and concerts, and more. More details here.)

In any case, Levitated Mass never requires museum admission, whenever you decide to visit, as is the case for our other outdoor sculptures like Chris Burden’s Urban Light. See it this week, see it next week, see it all summer, see it next year, see it in 2022… you get the idea. Levitated Mass isn’t going anywhere. 40+ years after Michael Heizer conceived of the idea, Levitated Mass is finally here to stay.

Scott Tennent

4 Responses to Levitated Mass Opens Sunday

  1. OMG this is so exciting! Congratulations LACMA! Congratulations Michael Heizer! I wish I could be there to see it, but look forward to your documentation! 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    with 2 cameras and a health dosage of childlike enthusiasm, i am really looking forward to this grand occasion…..hoping (and praying) that i offend no one, i am inclined to call this our city’s “rock of ages.”


  3. The art of Michael Heizer is not only Earth Art but Time Art. Thanks a lot for this awesome long-term roject. Here is our international press review http://obsart.blogspot.fr/2012/01/levitated-mass-2012-world-press-review.html (330 articles!) with many links at the end (photos, videos, drawings, plans, etc)

  4. sammi says:

    This is awesome!! Awesome!!

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