What I Saw in LA Before the Conference

Before we started our Napa/Coastal Drive trip, J and I had an afternoon in LA. Mind you I was up at 5:30 am for a 9 am flight and didn’t sleep on the flight so I was a tad cranky. Anyway, he took me to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to see the much touted “Levitated Mass” exhibit.

This is it. A rock, a ginormous rock, bolted over a sidewalk and supported by cement walls. This is one of those occasions where the artist clearly did not have a Webster dictionary on hand. Or they were too arrogant to look the word up. Levitate means “to rise or float in or as if in the air especially in seeming defiance of gravitation.”

An emperor-has-no-clothes sort of art installation. If you tell me mass is levitated, I expect that’s what it will be. Resting on cement walls and bolted in is in no way a defiance of gravity. This installation cost $20 million dollars. And according to the articles, the big draw is how often do you get to look at the bottom of a statue? Um not often, but I can go in my yard and pick up a rock and look at the bottom of it anytime.

In a time where schools are cutting art programs and libraries are being closed because of scarcity of funds, this is an abomination in excess.

We walked onward to the La Brea Tar Pits. This is what it looks like when they are working around the pit.

These pits are enclosed by huge fences (you can see it on the edge of the picture below) because people have a propensity to litter into the tar. It smelled sulphuricious and in some spots bubbled.

Urban Lights was an interesting sight. I think of it as lamposts at full attention at LACMA.

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20 Responses to What I Saw in LA Before the Conference

  1. I can smell that sulphoricious mist just reading about it. 😉 And you’re so right. That ginormous rock is definitely not floating! Sheesh. You made a great point about lack of funds for art and that piece. Too bad they won’t sell it and donate the cash to worthy programs…

    • LOL. The Tar Pits were so cool. Those are definitely worth visiting. But the rock–it made me so angry. It wasn’t levitated. It wasn’t worth that kind of money in this kind of economy. If it was a replica of David that might be worth it, but a rock, granted a huge rock just transported into the city–that was so supercilious to me. Reminded me of the Capital people from Hunger Games.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, this one made me laugh, because it’s exactly the same reaction I would have had towards that “artwork.” Cool pics, though.

  3. Elliot says:

    That giant rock got transported via not too far from where I live. It made several stops for people to stare at it. I didn’t understand why at that point either.

    When my parents where over last year we visited the La Brea tar pit (La Brea means “The Tar” I think, so it is like saying “The tar tar pit). On the film that they show inside, we were amused at the subtitles. The horse said “Neigh” was funny, but I’m also from Yorkshire in the UK where “Nay” is an oldtimers way of saying “No”. So the horse was sort of saying “No” (as in I’m not going near that tar pit). I guess you had to be there.

    • Sounds like a classic “Emperor has no clothes” thing. Have a procession and a hooplah so everyone comes to see and we can pretend this is important. In this day and age moving ginormous rocks is not an accomplishment. It was to build the Egyptian Pyramids.

      Ah, nice so people can’t forget it’s a tar pit. 😉 LOL. Still amazing. I didn’t see the film but it sounds memorable. Love that the horse got subtitles. 🙂

  4. klynwurth says:

    Levitation…20 million dollars. I’d have at least set it on glass, plexiglass or mirrors so there would be an illusion. Oh, well. I enjoyed your blog very much today.

  5. berry says:

    Not my cup of tea. Museums bore me to death……

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Give me the free Smithsonian museums. 🙂 Can you imagine what a real artist like Michelangelo would think of that exhibit?!

  7. 4amWriter says:

    Ugh, that exhibit would tick me off, too. I can’t believe the audacity and arrogance of some people. I loved your line about being able to pick up a rock and look at the bottom anytime 🙂

    • Glad to hear it! It is just so bizarre to me that this is considered art and an epic achievement. I was completely underwhelmed by this after seeing David and the Sistine Chapel in Italy.

  8. Would like to see those tar pits, but the rock thing…they made such a big deal out of rock selection, moving it towards the spot and all. All the hype was overblown. The installation isn’t inspiring or mystical or even humorous…underwhelmed and such a waste or space, time, and money. Snookered someone for sure. (but they will never admit it)

    • Those tar pits are cool. The rock. I just didn’t get it. Stonehenge is amazing, pyramids amazing. Rolling a boulder into LA? Yawn. My friend and I walked around it and gave up. From no angle did it look levitated. And to call a boulder a statue is sacrosanct. 🙂

  9. Pete Denton says:

    Great photos. I’ve been to the Tar Pits as well. It was what feels like a lifetime ago so thank you for stirring some memories 🙂

    • Thanks. Pretty neat to see them. Been to LA many times but my friend always finds new sights to show me. Glad to bring up a good memory. I really love traveling and seeing stuff–especially roadtripping. 🙂

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