June 2, 2012

Michael Heizer' sculpture Levitated Mass, LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announces that artist Michael Heizer’s monumental sculpture Levitated Mass will open to the public on Sunday, June 24. Originally conceived by the artist in 1969, Levitated Mass is a 456-foot-long concrete slot, over which sits a 340-ton granite boulder. As visitors walk through the slot, the pathway descends to fifteen feet in depth, running underneath the boulder before ascending back up. A formal dedication ceremony, open to the public, will take place at 11 am, inaugurating the artwork’s official debut. 

MICHAEL HEIZER was born in Berkeley, California, in 1944. He briefly attended the San Francisco Art Institute and moved to New York City in 1966, where he produced large-scale paintings. In late 1968-69, Michael Heizer chose to operate between his studios in New York and a ranch he eventually built in Nevada. Here, he began to produce large-scale sculptures such as Nine Nevada Depressions and Displaced/Replaced Mass, as well as large earth drawings and paintings on dry lakes in California and Nevada. To interpret these immense sculptures in a gallery setting, Michael Heizer developed his unique use of large-scale still photography in the form of collages and static projections. Several shows with oversize rock-in-floor depressions were produced in Los Angeles and New York with Ace Gallery. His 1969 artwork Double Negative (now owned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles) inspired generations of artists. Michael Heizer is currently completing his largest project, City, begun in 1972. 

“This is a historic occasion, one many years in the making,” said LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan. “Thousands of families witnessed the transport of the 340-ton megalith to LACMA this spring, and now Michael Heizer has realized his artwork on the museum’s campus, where it will stand for generations to come. I am grateful to the many generous donors who made this incredible endeavor possible.”  

Levitated Mass was made possible by private gifts to Transformation: The LACMA Campaign from Jane and Terry Semel, Bobby Kotick, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Beth and Joshua Friedman, Steve Tisch Family Foundation, Elaine Wynn, Linda, Bobby, and Brian Daly, Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd., Richard Merkin, MD, and the Mohn Family Foundation. LACMA has dedicated this acquisition to the memory of Nancy Daly, former chair of LACMA’s board of trustees.  

“Nancy Daly was a passionate advocate for the arts and for children in Los Angeles,” said Terry Semel, co-chair of LACMA’s board of trustees. “Levitated Mass is a fitting tribute to her leadership and to her philanthropic vision. I know that so many people — children especially — will find inspiration and wonder in this monumental work of art.” 

Permanent installations of Michael Heizer’s sculpture can be found throughout the United States, including Seattle, Washington; Oakland, California; the Menil Collection and Rice University in Houston, Texas; the MIT campus in Boston, Massachusetts and the corner of 56th and Madison Avenue in New York City. Major exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Foundazione Prada, Milan, Italy, and at the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, Holland. 

Los Angeles, CA, 90036, USA

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