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Artist Heizer’s big rock rolls to California

March 12, 2012 - 19:56 By Korea Herald
LOS ANGELES (AP) ― Rock stars are a common enough sight in Los Angeles but it’s not often when a rock is the star.

Los Angeles residents are coming out to catch a glimpse of a massive boulder that arrived at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art before dawn Saturday, after lumbering across Southern California for the past week and a half.

It will become the centerpiece of acclaimed earth artist Michael Heizer’s latest creation, “Levitated Mass.”

“The sheer size of it is just impressive. The size of the rock, and the size of the undertaking,’’ said Ron Dickson, 64, who drove down from Burbank.

The 340-ton hunk of granite, accompanied by an entourage of about 100 people, left a dusty quarry in Riverside on Feb. 28, chauffeured toward its destination by a specially built carrier as long as a football field.
A 200-foot-long transporter almost three freeway lanes wide carries a 340-ton granite boulder, standing 21 feet, 10 inches high and measuring 32 feet across to its new home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it will become the centerpiece of artist Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” in Los Angeles on Friday. (AP-Yonhap News)

The convoy made it to Wilshire Boulevard at around 4 a.m. Saturday, with hundreds of people looking on and museum officials updating its progress on Twitter. In its final mile, the moving crew paused to pose for photos in front of LACMA’s “Urban Light” exhibit, before turning north on Fairfax Avenue, then east on West Sixth Street to its permanent home on the museum’s north lawn.

Miranda Carroll, LACMA’s communications director, described a collective sigh of relief among museum officials when the megalith finally arrived.

“It’s here!” cheered Carroll, who admitted she didn’t get much sleep as she followed the journey’s last stretch.

As the sun came up, the sidewalks along the lawn were filled gawkers clutching coffee cups peering through a chain link fence.

As it made a long, circuitous journey toward the museum that was aimed at avoiding narrow streets, low-slung bridges and pesky utility lines, it was cheered on by what became an audience of tens of thousands.

At one stop a man proposed to his girlfriend in front of the rock. Later, when it arrived in Long Beach, that city threw a block party that attracted thousands of revelers.

There were a couple of small bumps along the way, however.

Because of its size, the rock could only be moved late at night and in the early morning, stopping each day at pre-arranged locations.

Two days into its journey it had to pull up two miles (three kilometers) short of its destination when a transmission in the engine of the vehicle pulling it became balky.