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It's opening day for Michael Heizer's 'Levitated Mass' at LACMA

June 24, 2012|By Danielle Paquette | This post has been corrected. See below for details
  • A channel that runs under the 340-ton boulder allows people to walk down and look up at the supported rock.
A channel that runs under the 340-ton boulder allows people to walk down… (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles…)

LACMA's rock, at last, is ready for its close-up.

This Sunday morning a crowd of museum employees, donors, trustees and their families has gathered on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art around "Levitated Mass," the headline-grabbing environmental sculpture by artist Michael Heizer.

"Levitated Mass" will open to the public after an inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.

Before the big moment, the VIP guests have been sampling complimentary coffee, chocolate chip scones and blueberry muffins. KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox, standing on a radio stand beneath white umbrellas, prepared to play what he called "fun rock" to set the mood.

The rock drew massive attention -- as well as ardent crowds -- when it made an 11-night journey this March from a quarry in Riverside through a series of Los Angeles County cities to the LACMA grounds on Wilshire Boulevard. The 340-ton boulder traveled on a specially made transporter at just a few miles per hour as it negotiated surface streets, bridges, at least one tight overpass and sharp turns, a trip that required months of logistical planning and negotiating with local municipalities.

Crowds turned out to watch it move through the greater L.A. area, and in one place that it stopped for the night, Bixby Knolls in Long Beach, thousands of people flocked to an impromptu street party around the granite boulder.

The finished "Levitated Mass'' is the realization of a decades-old idea of Heizer's. He tried to build it in 1969, with a smaller boulder, but the crane attempting to lift the giant rock snapped.

[For the record: June 24, 12:16 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled the sculpture title "Levitated Mass" as "Leviated Mass."]

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