So this is how Indiana Jones felt in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye… except the rock isn’t rolling towards me… and I’m not in a Jeep “driving” underground on a Disneyland ride. I wasn’t imagining the sand, dirt, and granite – I was merely admiring Michael Heizer’s artwork.

This week’s Secret of SoCal is part two of the LACMA Outdoor Installation mini-series, Levitated Mass.


In 1968, contemporary artist Michael Heizer mused about an installation with a 120-ton boulder. However, due to the size of boulder and lack of funding, it was impossible to complete the project during his 2006 attempt. Shortly after, while working on another project at the Stone Valley Quarry, Heizer discovered the missing piece to his puzzle – the perfect boulder.

About ten million dollars of private donations later, Heizer had the funding necessary to move the 21.5-foot boulder. Although there were numerous delays due to difficulty getting the necessary permits, the gigantic boulder left the quarry in 2012 and traveled through 22 cities in 4 counties to reach its final destination, LACMA. The boulder’s journey was followed by over a thousand people, a video crew, and reporters, as it finally made its way down Miracle Mile.


This boulder now sits on two shelves and is surrounded by 2.5 acres of compressed granite. Unlike Heizer’s similar installation in Manhattan, NY, this boulder was unable to solely balance on the granite due to its size and weight, whereas the Manhattan installation (also named Levitated Mass) is smaller and can provide the facade it is levitating.

Heizer doesn’t frequently comment on the meaning behind this art piece. He merely alludes to the size of the massive boulder and the duration required to perfect this work of art. His ambiguity allows viewers to conclude the mass’s meaning without influence, but with imagination.

Click here to see video clips about the making of Levitated Mass! Check back later this week and read about my latest attempt at seeking new heights!

And remember- Take Care of This Moment.

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