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Levitated Mass arrives at Los Angeles County Museum of Art

March 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A huge boulder that has been winding its way through Southern California streets for the past week and a half finally reached its destination at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The 340-ton rock began its journey from a Riverside rock quarry and trekked about 105 miles across four counties and 22 Southland cities.

It arrived at LACMA on the Miracle Mile before dawn on Saturday, cheered on by what has become an audience of tens of thousands.

Check out the boulder's entire route from Riverside to LACMA.

Riverside resident William Ramirez has been following the rock's journey and was at LACMA to watch the last leg of the trip.

"It's great to see that it made it safely to its destination. I live about a half a mile from the rock quarry. I can actually see it from my backyard," said Ramirez. "So I came out the first night, second night, and by the third night I came out, I kind of bonded to the rock and I'm sorry to see it go, but we'll have to come back for the opening of the exhibit."

Ramirez said it was amazing to see the sheer manpower involved in moving the rock.

"I don't think so many people were interested, but as it rode along, the crowd grew," Ramirez said.

L.A. resident Curt Beyerchen got up early Saturday to see the rock reach LACMA.

"It's a lot bigger than we would have thought. We saw pictures online and everything. It was pretty massive," Beyerchen said.

The boulder may have reached LACMA, but there is still much work to be done. Miranda Carrol, LACMA's director of communications, said in the next few days, crews will move the carrier parallel to a slot prepared for the exhibit. Then, the boulder will eventually be placed in the center of that slot. Carrol said the museum has never taken on such a monumental project before.

"We've built buildings but we've never had a large sculpture like this on such a large scale," she said.

The rock only traveled at nighttime to sidestep possible traffic congestion, and crews disassembled and reassembled traffic signals and power lines to make the passage as smooth as possible. The boulder was carried on a trailer with 196 wheels at a max speed of 5 mph. The entire project is estimated to have cost $10 million, all funded by museum donors.

The 21 1/2-foot-tall boulder will be the centerpiece of artist Michael Heizer's "Levitated Mass" exhibit. The rock will appear to float above the heads of visitors as they walk underneath it. Museum officials hope to have the exhibit open by late spring or early summer.

See photos of the massive rock.


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