Art Documentary 'Levitated Mass' Tells an L.A. Story

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Doug Pray's documentary Levitated Mass is as much about the artwork (in the form of a 340-ton rock called "Levitated Mass") as it is about the city of Los Angeles as the rock made its way to its permanent home in LACMA.

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Michael Heizer's 'Levitated Mass' at its permanent home in LACMA.

"I got a call from Jamie Patricof [one of the film's producers], who told me one day that LACMA wanted to move this gigantic boulder and it would take 10 nights. [En route] they would have to take down all the street lights, and I thought it was astounding for a contemporary art project to have this effect. I loved the idea partly because I’ve lived in LA for a some years and really wanted to make a portrait of L.A. and also because I’ve always had an affection for rocks and geology. So I got involved and pitched the idea to LACMA.," Pray tells Film Society of Lincoln Center. "Every night we were in a different part of the L.A. basin, which [has dozens of cities]. In some areas the terrain felt like ranch land, but then closer to the city you could be in a typical suburb that looks like China. L.A.’s always defied traditional definitions of being a city. The rock’s travel was as through-line between all these different communities."

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