Riverside’s Levitated Mass Connection

As we mentioned in our post last week discussing Riverside’s quality of life, we have a rich connection to the arts in Riverside.  This connection extends out to our surrounding cities as well.  Southern California in general is a mecca for artists, and we’re withing driving distance to the hub of arts in both Los Angeles and Orange County.

This past weekend Charlotte’s family took their exchange student into LA to view the sights.  This is something we don’t often do, even though we’re so close to the “City of Angels”.  One of the destinations on the trip was to see the recently installed exhibit Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (LACMA)  This piece had a particular interest to us since the core of the installation, a giant boulder, came from the Riverside area.  Connie and Roger also journeyed into LA to see the exhibit after seeing Charlotte’s postings on Face Book so it became a virtual Team experience!

Levitated Mass from the “top”

The story of the boulder’s journey from The Quarry in Jurupa Valley to it’s new home on exhibit at LACMA is an amazing one.  You may have seen the news last spring when the Boulder was moved under the cover of darkness from Riverside to Los Angeles.  However, the real vision for the installation and the search for the perfectly shaped boulder began years before.  Artist Michael Heizer first conceived of the idea in 1969.  Heizer, who is known for oversize, site specific sculptures, tried his first version of this piece to no avail.  The boulder chosen at that time broke the crane being used to move it and the vision was left incomplete.  Since that time and after years of searching and study the perfect rock, a 340 ton piece of granite, was located here in Riverside!

Back to March 2012 and the boulder’s 11 night journey from the Quarry in Riverside to LACMA.  Connie went out to see the giant rock as it rested during the day on one of the legs of it’s journey.  The logistics of getting it to LA were quite extensive.  People came out in droves just to see the spectacle of a 340 ton boulder being moved through the city streets and freeways.  Just to give you an idea as to the size of this piece, here is a picture of the truck it took to get the boulder from point A to point B.

Moving the Monolith

While the boulder, or monolith as LACMA has been calling it,  is one component of the artwork, the 456-foot-long slot beneath it and the surrounding environment complete the entire Levitated Mass installation.  According to the artist and LACMA the installation ” speaks to the expanse of art history, from ancient traditions of creating artworks from megalithic stone, to modern forms of abstract geometries and cutting-edge feats of engineering.”

Looking up from the underside of the monolith.

One of the most remarkable things about this piece is being able to walk under the boulder as you walk along the trench.  It is a very awe inspiring perspective.

Overall, a visit to Los Angeles and LACMA is a great adventure.  If you have children, there is a great program at the museum where children under 18 get in free, and they can bring an adult “guest” in with them for free!  The Levitated Mass is not the only exhibit there that children will enjoy, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone in the family occupied.

The entire installation encompasses much more than just Riverside’s boulder.

For those of you looking for more information regarding the Levitated Mass installation, check out this time elapsed video of the installation site construction. Time Lapse Video Of Levitated Mass Construction


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