The LA County Museum of Art and earth artist, Michael Heizer have been waiting for the arrival of a 340 ton boulder.
For five years the artist has been planning an exhibit called ‘Levitated Mass” which will open – hopefully, before the holidays. Heizer actually conceived the project back in 1968. That’s right, 43 years ago!
What took so long? The problem was finding just the right boulder. Heizer spent years (decades) searching quarries and finally found what he was looking for at a quarry near Riverside, CA in 2006. The artist paid $120,000 for the rock in addition to $100 a month storage fee for the last 5 years.
Installing the museum’s latest exhibit isn’t as easy as hanging a painting on the wall. There are two parts to the project. The first part, was installing a concrete trench – which was completed earlier this year. The second part of the project will be the installation of the boulder which will be suspended over the trench. Once the rock is in place, it will straddle the 456-foot-long, 15 foot deep concrete walkway. As people pass under it, the boulder will have the illusion that it is floating unsecured above them. Not to worry, California seismic officials have signed off on the project and are comfortable that no one will be squashed by the boulder should we have an earthquake.
Dig a ditch, suspend a boulder over it. Sounds simple enough until you consider the boulder is one of the largest monoliths to be moved since ancient times. That’s right – think pyramids of Egypt.
A team from Emmert International built a special transport vehicle with 196-wheels and 44-axles around the 21 foot tall, 340-ton megalith that is strong enough to carry more than a million pounds.
So how many people does it take to move a 340 boulder? An entourage of some 60 drivers, steerers and police escorts. The move will take 9 nights at the speed of 6 miles an hour to travel over 120 miles of roads.
Although the transport vehicle is as wide as three freeway lanes and nearly as long as a football field, it will only travel a few hours each night when traffic is lightest. People along the route will be told in advance that it’s headed their way.
Originally scheduled to arrive at the museum on Oct. 3, we are still waiting for the rock. I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of waiting.
From 1965 The Kinks - Tired of Waiting: