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LACMA’s boulder is on the road

A photograph of Michael Heizer's famous example of land art,
A photograph of Michael Heizer's famous example of land art, "Double Negative."
aur2899/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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A 340-ton rock started moving on Tuesday from its home in Riverside County. The megalith will travel for almost two weeks until it arrives to Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Saturday, March 10. The two-story-high granite boulder comes from a quarry in the Jurupa Valley, in Riverside County; it will grace the museum’s entrance in artist Michael Heizer’s permanent exhibition titled “Levitated Mass.”

Just exactly how do you move such a gargantuan? It took months of research, engineering studies, and collaboration with officials in four counties and nearly two dozen cities to answer that question. The boulder is being transported on a custom-built, 294-foot-long trailer that will travel at a speed limit of 8 mph, and only at night between 11 pm and 5 am. The boulder is too tall for overpasses and too heavy for bridges, so engineers at Emmert International have established a fairly circuitous route that avoids both, including streets deemed too weak to support the boulder-laden trailer. The trip – no doubt costly – will be paid for by private donors.

Why spend so much time and energy on transferring the boulder? Why not just leave it where it was? What’s the significance of this art exhibit? What does it mean to LACMA?


Michael Govan, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art