Art and the study of its appreciation has been established and encountered for thousands of years. It has a crucial role in history by encouraging the congregation, culture, and advancement of hundreds and thousands of societies, including that which has developed in Los Angeles.
On March 6th and March 7th, 2020, I had the privilege of visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Established in 1961, it has become the largest art museum in the West of the United States. Many individuals from all over the world who have come to visit Los Angeles also choose to take a tour around the museum during their stay. LACMA displays various unique art pieces to appeal to the tastes of all sorts of observers. Here is a picture of myself inside such an example – an art piece named “Urban Light.”
Although LACMA was officially independently established in 1961, it actually used to be part of a museum called the “Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art,” which was founded in 1910. After a significant donation was provided in later years for the purpose of creating a new and larger museum, the museum board eventually decided to do just that. Thus, LACMA was created.
It is no surprise that LACMA features art pieces which would take one’s breath away. The one I mentioned a little earlier – Urban Light – is probably the most famous of them all. It has been featured in movies, shows, and all kinds of media aiming to promote Los Angeles in general. It has become one of the hallmarks of the city. The art piece is a collection of restored streetlights from the 1920s and 1930s; I found this to be particularly interesting considering how the book we read in our class, Southern California: An Island on the Land by Carey McWilliams, mentioned that the 1920s and 1930s were when the city really began to expand and become the urban and suburban society it is today. Therefore, I find the artwork to be a window into the past of developing Los Angeles.
Another art piece I was fortunate to view was called “Levitated Mass.” At first, I had no idea why it was there. To me, I just viewed it as a random giant rock sitting near 6th street, on the opposite side of the museum from the Urban Light piece. However, upon observation, I began to wonder how the rock even got there, and if there was any significant history behind it. After research, I was able to find that the art piece was initially conceived and attempted by Michael Heizer in 1968; although, it failed to reach completion in 1969 when a crane broke while attempting to move the boulder. Technology seemed to have been limited. However, in 2006, Heizer was at Stone Valley Quarry in Jurupa Valley, CA, when he noticed a 340-ton rock and decided to attempt the art piece once again. Funding established about $10 million in order to get the project over to LACMA. In 2012, the rock was placed onto a very big transporter custom-built just for the piece. The rock could only travel at night and at seven miles per hour. It took 11 days to reach its destination; all the while, crowds would congregate around the rock during its nighttime travels as well as during its rest in the daytime. When it finally reached LACMA, thousands of people crowded the area to see the placement of the rock onto a manmade concrete trench specified to create an illusion that the massive rock was levitating. It is a fascinating example of how artwork brought together thousands of people within a growing society, and helped to establish a greater culture in Los Angeles. Here is an image of myself in front of the piece:
Historical information is referenced from Wikipedia.com, the pages “LACMA”, “Urban Light,” and “Levitated Mass.”
– Alara B.