Category: LACMA

The LACMA Rock: The last night on the road

March 9, 2012 | 11:40 pm


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!"

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward 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.


Full coverage:  LACMA's rock

LACMA Rock: Trouble with hills

The $10-million LACMA rock caravan stops short

--Deborah Vankin

Photo: The rock's transporter is shown before the beginning of the final leg of the journey from Riverside to LACMA. Credit: Deborah Vankin

LACMA's Michael Govan talks about his new rock star

March 9, 2012 |  9:00 am

Michael Govan in Riverside with the boulder intended for "Levitated Mass."
As long as artist Michael Heizer is not granting interviews about his 340-ton boulder, which has achieved celebrity status en route to becoming a museum piece, LACMA director Michael Govan has served as its de facto spokesman or agent.

Last year Govan first introduced the public to the rock at its quarry in Riverside (above), where he marvelled over the jagged lines and dramatic form of what seemed at first glance a perfectly generic boulder. This week he has fielded countless requests from radio and TV programs about the boulder's high-profile journey.

We caught up with him Thursday in the middle of the madness.

Did you ever expect the rock to get this degree of attention and adulation?
We thought it would be interesting to mark the city with this megalith and that it could have a power that extends beyond the [LACMA] campus. But, no. I don’t think we could imagine this--that there would be 20,000 people in Bixby Knolls. We always think of artists as challenging expectations, so I wasn’t expecting this kind of outpouring of expression and love.

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

What do you think it is about the rock that’s captured everyone’s attention?
Somebody said, I think a news cameraman, that there’s something very primal in human beings about moving rocks. I think that’s as plausible a reason as any. Why is it when you look across the globe from India and Asia to Mexico that so many ancient cultures did the same thing?

Continue reading »

Art review: 'Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings' at LACMA

March 8, 2012 |  7:00 pm

Kelly Installation Gallery 3
You don’t need to be a film critic, or an English major, to know that movies and novels are more like apples and oranges than peas in a pod. It’s hardly uncommon to find that the film adaptation of a book is not as satisfying as reading it was. “I liked the movie but it wasn’t as good as the book,” people will say.

Something similar — yet significantly different — takes place in the visual arts. Like movies, lithographs and screenprints are often treated as lesser versions of paintings or sculptures, either inadequate translations of the originals or mere souvenirs that call to mind more ambitious, and expensive, masterpieces.

But that’s not always the case. At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings” brings together 99 prints, 16 sketches, three paintings and one sculpture by the 88-year-old New York artist. Drawn mostly from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, the sharply focused show has been organized by curators Stephanie Barron and Britt Salvesen. With lovely light-handedness, it demonstrates that Kelly’s prints are more like books than movies.

Continue reading »

Following LACMA's big rock through Long Beach, tweet by tweet

March 8, 2012 | 10:00 am

The circuitous 11-day journey of LACMA's giant boulder finished its most challenging route yet Thursday morning, squeezing through the busy byways of Long Beach
The circuitous 11-day journey of LACMA's giant boulder finished its most challenging route yet Thursday morning, squeezing through the busy byways of Long Beach.

Los Angeles Times reporter Deborah Vankin has been following the rock's trip and live tweeted from the scene starting Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning.

The $10-million caravan was celebrated first with a block party in the neighborhood of Bixby Knolls and ended its travels in the middle of a street in Carson.

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

The 105-mile journey is scheduled to end up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art early Saturday. The giant boulder eventually will be the focal point of artist Michael Heizer's landmark sculpture "Levitated Mass" on the museum grounds.

Here, for those who were not following Vankin in the middle of the night, is a recap of her tweets and photos.


MAP: Follow the route

Full coverage:  LACMA's rock

On the road with LACMA's big rock, minute by minute

-- Sherry Stern

Photo: Long Beach residents gather on the sidealk in the 3600 block of Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, where the LACMA rock paused Wednesday on its journey. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

LACMA's rock caravan carefully winds its way through Long Beach

March 8, 2012 |  8:55 am

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s monolith is more than halfway into its epic journey. On its eighth night of traveling, the caravan, making its way through Long Beach, faced its most challenging trip yet
As LACMA's boulder made its way through Long Beach on Wednesday night, its caravan was at times between, well, a rock and a hard place.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's shrink-wrapped monolith is about three-quarters of the way into its journey from the remote Riverside County quarry from which it was blasted to the mid-Wilshire museum where it will be the centerpiece of the artwork "Levitated Mass."

On its eighth night of traveling, the caravan faced its most challenging trip yet. The route along Atlantic Avenue, Ocean Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway was the most densely populated stretch of the trip so far, said workers with Emmert International, the company handling the move.

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

Following a festive afternoon block party in the Bixby Knolls arts district, the $10-million caravan hit the road at exactly 10 p.m., but soon came to a standstill due to an overlooked utility pole on Atlantic that was in the way and needed to be removed.

More than 100 people -– truckers, museum workers, police escorts among them -- milled about in the icy night air, most wearing fluorescent vests, as the long line of trucks, their engines rumbling, waited and onlookers snapped pictures. After a delay or more than 40 minutes, the caravan set into motion.

Until it slowed down again.

Continue reading »

LACMA rock keeps the party rolling in Long Beach's Bixby Knolls

March 7, 2012 |  9:49 pm

LACMA rock party in Bixby Knolls: Click for more photos

Long Beach's Bixby Knolls district rocked out Wednesday -- quite literally. Its rock/block party for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's 340-ton boulder was a big success.

The event, which started at noon, had already drawn 15,000 to 20,000 people as of 4 p.m., said Michael Clements, who is Councilman James Johnson's chief of staff.

"This is like First Fridays, but relocated down the street," Clements said, referring to the community's monthly art, music and shopping showcase. "Bixby Knolls is the center of the arts community for Long Beach, and we wanted to celebrate it."

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

The carnival-like atmosphere included sidewalk musicians, pop-up art installations and crafts for kids such as -- not surprisingly -- rock painting. Street artists painted wildly different renditions of the rock and its custom bright red transporter. The boulder eventually will be the centerpiece of Michael Heizer's outdoor sculpture "Levitated Mass" at LACMA.

One highlight was a more than 10-foot-high stilt walker, dressed as a Swiss mountain climber. As he lumbered down the sidewalk, towering over the crowd of rock rubberneckers, he bellowed: "I am Klaus. And I think the rock is not so tall!"

The much-publicized boulder, resting in a steel sling on its 200-foot transporter, enjoyed a prime parking spot smack in the middle of Atlantic Avenue. Gawkers streamed by on both sides of the street, snapping pictures and shooting video.

MAP: Follow the route

Businesses such as the Bake n Broil on Atlantic were appreciatively swamped. Hostess Brooke Lapierre said foot traffic today was "ridiculously crazy."

Meanwhile, local artist Douglas Orr, owner of Long Beach's Gallery Expo, said he thought Heizer's art project was cool, but he also balked at its $10-million price tag.

"I would've made them a rock for $1 million," he said.

Emmert International, the company handling transportation of the boulder,
said everything was on schedule for the monolith to take off at 10 p.m. Wednesday. It will travel on Atlantic, then Ocean Boulevard, and it will cross the L.A. River on a bridge at Pacific Coast Highway. It is slated to arrive at LACMA early Saturday morning.

Culture Monster will be riding with the rock caravan, live tweeting throughout Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Follow the tweets here.


Full coverage:  LACMA's rock

LACMA rock draws crowds in Bixby Knolls

Interactive: Getting the rock ready to roll

-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Block party participants dance on the sidewalk in front of the LACMA rock in Bixby Knolls in Long Beach. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

LACMA's boulder is drawing crowds in downtown Bixby Knolls

March 7, 2012 |  3:59 pm

LACMA rock in Bixby Knolls

The massive transporter hauling the 340-ton boulder wrapped in plastic that eventually will be the centerpiece of Michael Heizer's outdoor sculpture "Levitated Mass" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is parked until Wednesday night in a commercial strip of Bixby Knolls, a Long Beach neighborhood just up Atlantic Avenue from the 405 Freeway.

The massive transporter takes up the center two lanes of the four-lane street. The boulder hits the road at 10 p.m., headed for Vermont Avenue north of Carson Street. 

Meanwhile a block party, extended until 7 p.m., is under way.

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

At lunchtime there was a DJ, a live band, food trucks, a taco stand, a booth selling T-shirts ("Bixby Knolls Got Rocked"), street artists spray-painting on cardboard sheets, several TV cameras, many still cameras, lots of cellphone cameras, a makeshift table display labeled "Pop Art" (stacked cans of Rockstar Energy Drink), some buskers, dogs on leashes (including mine), pontificating actors from a local theater, plenty of security guards, plenty of slowly moving traffic (although no actual traffic jams) and a steady stream of hundreds -- no, probably a few thousand -- looky-loos filing along the crowded sidewalks.

The boulder, quietly suspended within the transporter's industrial cradle amid the hubbub, seemed positively petite.

Continue reading »

LACMA's rock gets its own block party in Long Beach

March 7, 2012 | 11:45 am

LACMA rock
Some neighborhoods throw block parties. On Wednesday, the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach is throwing a rock party. And the area is going all-out.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 340-ton boulder –- on an 11-day trip from Riverside County to the mid-Wilshire museum –- currently is parked in the middle of the road on Atlantic Avenue, between 36th  and 37th streets.

The local business association is throwing an all-out, carnival-like party for the rock Wednesday, complete with river rock painting, stilt walkers and a DJ playing at Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant (first song? Queen’s "We Will Rock You," of course.)

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

The party was originally planned for noon to 4 p.m.; but the massive boulder -– resting in a steel sling on its football field-length transporter -- has become such an attraction that festivities have been extended until 7 p.m. Scores of locals and other gawkers have been stopping by on their way to work, and five groups of schoolchildren have already come through on field trips this morning, says the museum.

L.A.’s newest “rock star,” which will soon become part of artist Michael Heizer’s massive sculpture for the museum, “Levitated Mass,” is now more than halfway through its circuitous 105-mile journey. On its most recent leg, it set off at 10 p.m. sharp Tuesday and traveled from South Street and Palo Verde Avenue in Lakewood to its current location in Long Beach.

MAP: Follow the route

The entire 6-mile stretch took just three hours to complete -– it's the fastest that the unwieldy, 100+-person rock caravan has traveled yet. The crew from Emmert International turned in early Wednesday, at 1 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. as planned.

The monolith will pull out of Long Beach at 10 p.m. Wednesday, at which point it will travel along Atlantic Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. It will cross the Los Angeles River on a bridge at Pacific Coast Highway. The Long Beach stint is the most populated, urban stretch of the rock's journey so far -- with far more utilities, such as power lines and traffic lights, to be maneuvered for a clear passage.


Full coverage:  LACMA's rock

LACMA Rock: trouble with hills

Interactive: Getting the rock ready to roll

-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Children gather at the LACMA boulder's Lakewood stop. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

The LACMA rock: The overnight run to Long Beach

March 6, 2012 | 12:40 pm

The LACMA rock at the quarry: Click for full coverage

The 340-ton boulder winding its way through the Southland to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be hitting the streets of Long Beach Tuesday night, and folks there are ready to party.

Local business leaders are throwing a bash in Bixby Knolls to welcome the monolith, the centerpiece of "Levitated Mass," a work by artist Michael Heizer that will be installed on the grounds of the county museum near its Resnick Pavilion.

"We’ve had crowds at every stop, and a lot of people have been following it the whole way," said LACMA spokeswoman Miranda Carroll.

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

The boulder arrived at its latest pit stop, along Palo Verde Avenue in Lakewood, early Tuesday morning and heads to Long Beach starting around 10 p.m. The rock, cradled in a mammoth trailer of heavy-duty steel girders, will spend Wednesday on Atlantic Avenue, between 36th Street and 37th Street.

The boulder’s 105-mile journey to LACMA began last week in Riverside, where the giant chunk of granite was blasted out of the earth at a quarry in the Jurupa Mountains. The rock is scheduled to arrive at the museum on Saturday.


MAP: Follow the route

Interactive: Getting the rock ready to roll

Culture Monster's complete coverage of LACMA's rock

-- Phil Willon

Photo: The rock back at the quarry, being prepared for the trip. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.

ForYourArt opens its first public space--and seeks proposals for it

March 5, 2012 |  1:26 pm


It's never been easy to pigeonhole ForYourArt, which has variously functioned as an arts website, a gallery and museum guide publisher, a cultural marketing firm and an event producer. But that task is about to get even harder, as the small but influential L.A. firm founded by Bettina Korek six years ago is opening its first public space at 6020 Wilshire Blvd.

The idea is a highly flexible, hybrid space devoted to arts programming in the broadest sense--"anything from talks to installations to publication launches to performances," said Korek, 33. One thing not to expect: traditional six-week-long, gallery-style exhibitions.“It's really about temporary projects, which last 0 to 7 days,” she said. Also not in the works: any plans to scale back the company’s Web or Twitter presence.

The new space, an 1,850-square-foot storefront across the street from LACMA, will open March 24 with an event pegged to a museum screening of Christian Marclay's blockbuster video “The Clock.” While Korek declined to give specifics, she described the opening event as "a 24-hour show that reflects the way we want to encourage participation in museums."

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.