Critical Mass for Levitated Mass

Yesterday was opening day—finally!—for Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass. The artist himself was on hand (and was even quoted by NBC has saying it was the happiest day of his life!),  leading throngs of people through his artwork for the very first time.

Here are some photos of the day:

Photo by Stefanie Keenan

Photo by LACMA staff

Photo by Stefanie Keenan

Photo by LACMA staff

Photo by LACMA staff

Photo by Stefanie Keenan

Photo by Stefanie Keenan

Photo by Stefanie Keenan

If you didn’t get the chance to see it yesterday, don’t forget—as an outdoor sculpture in the park, Levitated Mass is free to experience any time, from morning till sunset. As a reminder to those of you who live in proximity to boulder’s transport route, don’t forget: we’re offering free admission to the rest of our galleries all week long if you have proof of residence in any of these zip codes.

Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday, to the donors who made Levitated Mass possible, and to Michael Heizer for realizing his artwork at LACMA!

Scott Tennent

17 Responses to Critical Mass for Levitated Mass

  1. artgod1 says:

    Look up “levitated”. This isn’t.

  2. Other options:
    Firmly Sitting On Braces Mass?
    Big Enough To Make You Uncomfortable As You Pass Under Mass?
    WTF Mass?
    Scissors Loses Mass?

  3. Reblogged this on I Rez Therefore I Am and commented:
    LOS ANGELES, 25 June — After a 43 year wait, Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” opened here yesterday. Without seeing it in person, the 340-ton megalith “feels” to me like nothing so much as a JMW Turner painting. In works like “Hannibal Crossing the Alps” or “Storm at Sea” Turner (1775-1851) gave us his singular vision of the sublime power of nature.

    Heizer’s patience in waiting 43 years to see this work complete matches Turner’s intensity in, for example, having himself strapped to a ship’s mast as it headed into a storm so he could better understand, and then represent, the experience. Experiences like “Levitated Mass” are sublime when we encounter them in nature, and to have the added conceptual resonance of a sculpture park at a massive urban museum complex should make this a singular experience in both its visceral and conceptual power.

    Acknowledgements also to LACMA Director and master fund-raiser Michael Govan for both the large-scale dream and the ability to realize it in this urban landscape.

  4. Art teacher Richard Pearl of Garfield Jr. High in Berkeley, might be amazed by this latest work of former art student Mike Heizer, but not surprised,,,circa 1959 leading art class pack then as well,..

  5. artgod1 says:

    Vanessa. Turner studied painting for a lifetime. As you point out, he tied himself to a mast to gain more insight into his work. This guy had a trucking company haul a rock around.

  6. B Consonius says:

    Very disappointing. The execution with the huge steel brackets TOTALLY defeats any impression of levitation, lightness or even of weight. That LACMA would get excited over this merely confirms their low expectations for culture today.

  7. sayitstr8r says:

    Rock Star feels more appropriate as an actual appellation for this piece. Levitation may be what was aimed at, but aiming and hitting are rarely the same thing, as we all know.

    But Rock Star – well, Michael, given how this is held up, bolstered, as it were, by supporting characters, and yet the rock star alone rises above the surface, the only one seen, admired, adored – well, do I wax too poetic (or wash and dry, in a more modest sense?) to think Rock Star is more appropriate, realistic, even, especially in the here and now called century 21?

    nice rock. Glad you got it off.

  8. artgod1 says:

    Rock Star? Musicians spend a decade learning to play, countless hours rehearsing and years of relentless touring with only a glimmer of hope of becoming a rock star. Michael had a truck go pick up a rock and put it on what looks like a sewer runoff collection point.

    You arty types will do anything to support the absurd.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Someone is right to say the Emperor has no clothes!

  10. @sayitstr8r and artgod1:

    Actually you are very free to call the piece however you like, but don’t forget “Levitated Mass” is not a specific title for this piece. He made several pieces under this name, since 1969, and in a way, even Displaced/Replaced (1969) might also be called Levitated Mass. You shouldn’t also forget that Heizer doesn’t like title very much. Many pieces are “untitled” and usually, titles he gives are very descriptive ones. That’s all.

    Nevertheless “Rock Star” is quite a good name if one think about the musical context of the first pieces made by Heizer. But the spectacular dimension of big 60/70’s gigs (with their big crowds) is maybe a little away from Heizer’s conception of art. He said a few weeks ago “I make static art, not dynamic art” (LA Times, May 2012), and his art seems rather near non-event art indeed, even the moving of the boulder was quite an incredible event.

    Heizer’s art is a Long-term Art ( That’s why it is not very easy to understand it, especially when one lives in a “fast-society” like ours where everything seems planned in order to focus only on the present time.

    But if one want absolutely to find a pseudo, another name, another title for the piece (which is absurb according to us), Levitated Mass may be called the “Philosophical Rock” ( according to us. Just an open idea.

    Long life to the Rock.

  11. artgod1 says:

    The whole thing including the responses of the “arty fans” is hilarious.

  12. Anonymous says:

    levitated mass or “freeway underpass”?

  13. Anonymous says:

    after all ….”L.A. is a great big freeway”?

  14. … Before all, a very long-term project, as usual with Heizer. ‘Levitated Mass’ is actually the fourth project (maybe fifth) project with this same title:

  15. Lary says:

    This is parenthetical of why I left La-La Land.

  16. Caswell James says:

    the stupidest piece of art created in L A and the most worthless waste of public art funds! How can art bureaucrats be so delusional!

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