Levitated Mass is a conceptual installation by the artist Michael Heizer. It is composed of a 456 foot long slot constructed on LACMA’s (Los Angeles County Museum of Art ) over which a 340 ton granite megalith was placed. The slot gradually descends to fifteen feet in depth, running underneath the boulder. As with other works by the artist, such as Double Negative (1969), the monumental negative form is key to the experience of the artwork. Heizer conceived of the artwork in 1969; a drawing of the work is in the collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The artist discovered an appropriate boulder only decades later, in Riverside County, California. The boulder is one component of the artwork, as is the 456 foot long slot beneath it and the surrounding environment. Taken whole, Levitated Mass 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.
LEVITATED MASS The documentary is the story of a rock star, the artist behind the sensation, a $10 million, 22 city tour, and the international media storm that ensued. Prominently displayed outside the (LACMA), land artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass gained worldwide recognition during its installation in 2012. Over 10 nights, a 340 ton solid granite boulder crawled through Southern California neighborhoods on a 294 foot long, 206 wheeled trailer. Thousands of people came out to watch it travel through their communities. It is one of the only pieces of art in recent history to inspire such a reaction in pop culture The film masterfully interweaves this artist’s biography, the dreams of a major museum, and the uniting of a city, examining the perennial question: what is art?
The documentary, directed by Doug Pray explores how a 340-ton granite boulder was moved from a quarry in Riverside, California to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and mounted atop the walls of a gigantic slot in the earth. The massive artwork, titled Levitated Mass, is the latest “land sculpture” by one of America’s most exciting and misunderstood artists, Michael Heizer. Heizer’s sculpture references the expanse of art history-from ancient traditions of megalithic stones to modern forms of abstract geometries and cutting-edge feats of engineering. The boulder’s 105-mile journey from quarry to museum attracted international media attention and challenged the imagination of thousands of Southern Californians over 10 nights as it crawled through 22 cities on a football-field length, 206-wheeled trailer. The film captures this spectacle while weaving together the dramatic story of the reclusive Heizer, the ambitions of a major metropolitan museum, and the public’s wild reactions to this massive display of modern yet eerily timeless conceptual art.