Michael Govan, LACMA's director, pointed out that carvings celebrating people moving monolithic stones date back thousands of years, and that tens of thousands of people turned out in 1880 to watch horses and masons wrestle the Cleopatra's Needle obelisk into place in New York's Central Park.
"But, no — I don't think we could have imagined this," Govan conceded. "I wasn't expecting this kind of outpouring of expression and love."
Like any modern celebrity, of course, the rock is leaving a significant cyber footprint.
Not everyone is a fan. There is now a Facebook page called "The Stupid LACMA Boulder."
One man from Tennessee wrote: "I'll sell you some rocks from my backyard, cheap!" An artist wrote on LACMA's Facebook page: "That money could buy a lot of crayons for our nonexistent art classes."
(The project's $10-million price tag has been financed by private donors — who might be heartened to learn that beneath its white tarp, the rock is swaddled in high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets so it doesn't get scratched.)
The rock, meanwhile, is pushing back with a Twitter account of its own — with a special assist from Andrew Veis, a spokesman in L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe's office.
No rock pun is too ham-handed for this boulder; the rock has given shout-outs to its "marble-ous" fans, chose "rock" in a game of rock, paper, scissors, and took the time to dispense a bit of wisdom: "If this journey to @LACMA has taught me anything, it's 'You can't take anything for granite.'"
Los Angeles Times staff writers Jori Finkel and Phil Willon contributed to this report.