Those who live in the rarefied air of the art world can’t seem to help but create fodder for those of us who live in the real world. A prime example is: Levitated Mass, a large-scale “sculpture” by Michael Heizer on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art which consists of a 340-ton boulder affixed above a concrete trench through which visitors may walk(except when it is raining in Southern California). The nature, expense and scale of the installation made it an instant topic of discussion within the art world…and a source of humor for the rest of us.
The granite boulder (21.5 feet wide and 21.5 feet high) is installed atop a 456-foot-long trench, which allows people to walk under it. The long channel, descending to a depth of 15 feet, is encircled by a lozenge-shaped line of weathering steel embedded in the earth and rusting to a velvety brown. The installation is situated in a field of polished concrete slices, set at a slight angle.
Aside from the obvious questions about how the “artist” and the Museum convinced art patrons to donate the $10 million cost of the creation of the setting for the rock and the cost of transporting the rock from a quarry in Riverside County, California to its resting place in downtown LaLa Land, I would add this one: Would you want to be standing in the trench under the 680,000 pound rock during the many earthquakes that are part of L.A.’s charm?