The LACMA Rock: The last night on the road
As the start of its last leg approached, the L.A. County Museum of Art's big boulder and its massive transporter were parked on Figueroa Street between 64th and 65th streets in South L.A., in front of a Methodist church. Neighborhood residents milled on the sidewalk and watched from their porches; truck engines rumbled; members of the news media, some from as far away as Asia, circled the crowd. Helicopters hovered beneath a glowing, full moon.
As the rock has made its way west from a Riverside quarry, interest has swelled, and Friday night the crowd included both serious art lovers and locals caught up in the spectacle.
Scott Fajack, Mary-Austin Klein and J.T. Walker are die-hard fans of the artist who will make the rock into a large outdoor installation at LACMA, Michael Heizer. Fajack and Klein once made a trip out to the artist's Nevada ranch just to drive by. Klein, a painter, said of "Levitated Mass": "It's as much about the process as the art."
Added Walker: "It's a citizen reawareness campaign for LACMA!"
Petra Lopez, 45, who lives in the neighborhood, said through a translator in Spanish that she thought the rock was "very interesting. I'm gonna wait to see it go."
The rock's caravan set out just after 10 p.m. and is due at the museum between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m. Saturday. Surprisingly, considering the myriad logistical challenges, nothing major has gone wrong on the boulder's journey. "But the last leg is always the hardest," said project manager Mark Albrecht.
"This is gonna be a tough night because of all the distractions, [with] the end being near," he said.
Photo: The rock's transporter is shown before the beginning of the final leg of the journey from Riverside to LACMA. Credit: Deborah Vankin