LA artist moves largest stone since ancient times

Once completed, the artwork, entitled Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer, will see visitors walk through a declining trench, passing below the boulder, making it appear it is levitating. The stone is the largest moved since ancient times.

?It’s ultramodern because it’s self-referential and it’s about the viewer’s experience – it doesn’t represent some god,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan told The LA Times. “Yet it has the timeless, ancient overtones of cultures that moved monoliths, like the Egyptians, Syrians and Olmecs.”

Merely moving the rock ? let alone installing it ? will require a 196-wheel, 44-axle transport vehicle, drivers, steerers, police and at least 60 other people, at a cost of between $US5-10 million.

The company charged with moving the stone, Emmart International, says that although it?s the largest geological object it has moved, it has previously moved buildings that were larger.

“This might be the first time for a rock but our company moved a building in Salt Lake City that was equivalent to a five-storey,” Rick Albrecht, the man in charge of moving the rock told The Associated Press. “It was almost 60 foot wide, it was a little over 100 feet long, and we had to jack it up 14 feet, spin it 180 degrees, move it across the street and jack it back down.”

While Albrecht believes the company is prepared, the move has challenges of its own. The transport vehicle can never travel any faster than 8km an hour, only by night, and will need to take a 50km detour to avoid overpasses and overhead wires.

Heizer has been building a mysterious artwork entitled ?City? in the Nevada Desert since 1972, which, presumably, is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian and Mayan pyramid complexes. The artist has been especially secretive about the project, going to great lengths to conceal its location ? until Google Earth blew his cover.

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