Friday, June 21, 2013

'Levitated Mass' Review: LA Film Fest

"Levitated Mass" by doc director Doug Pray
It was a bold move for LACMA -- bold to the tune of $10 million -- to create an art exhibit designed by artist Michael Heizer that involved moving a 340-ton rock from a Riverside quarry to L.A.'s Miracle Mile.

But Levitated Mass succeeded (crazy succeeded!), and this huge chunk of solid earth made a lot of fans along its 100+ mile journey to L.A. County's art museum.

If you remember the serious hoopla that surrounded the rock's transport (pictured above), you might remember that exactly this time last year people in towns like Bixby Knolls and Chino were standing on sidewalks, on grassy patches of off ramps and in the street to watch this huge art project wind its way to L.A.

That's exactly what director Doug Pray captures in his new documentary, Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture, which world premiered last night at the LA Film Fest (and at LACMA's Bing Theater, to boot!).

The film explores the mountains of red tape it took to actually get this boulder out of the quarry and transported to the museum -- as well as the reactions of people who watch it roll by, carefully wrapped and protected by thousands upon thousands of dollars of equipment and man power. And while the reactions of some people are often curious, there are some who are a little peeved that so much (private) money is going to something so seemingly frivolous as good jobs are escaping their grasp.

Then there's Heizer himself. Seen only in filmed interviews from the '60s and '80s for most of the film, he at first seems to be a mysterious and elusive figure, which is fitting considering his focus in art is negative space (hence the deep trench that lies beneath the rock at LACMA).

Pray covers a lot of bases in this film -- Heizer's art philosophy, the history of his works, the rock and its transport, and LACMA's process of just getting this off the ground (so to speak). There's a lot at stake, and Pray handles all of these story lines with ease.

While I would have loved to know a bit more of the art history and inspiration behind Levitated Mass as a piece of art, I did enjoy hearing all of the points of view -- and somehow that became part of the artwork itself.

CC at "Levitated Mass" at LACMA

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails