Levitated Mass makes it to LA. I wrote about this idiocy for the National Review, one of them-there philistine-type arkticles what don’t understand the subtel-tees of modern art. Philistone would be more like it, perhaps. Hah! That’s a joke I said that’s a joke son. The rock in question is a 340-ton boulder dragged from the desert to a museum installation, where it will rest over a deep concrete-lined trench. I am unimpressed by the idea of putting a massive stone over a trench. Logistically, it’s fascinating; getting the rock from its natural habitat to the installation required a huge vee-hicle with 900 tires, or something, and it took forever, since the rock weighed slightly more than the pretense of the entire conception, and the truck only moved five miles an hour.

The WSJ had a piece about its arrival in LA. 200,000 people supposedly showed up to watch it pass. I don’t know how many came to see the immense truck, or how many came to see the Big Rock; if more came for the latter I’d be depressed. It’s just a rock. It’s a large rock, but . . . it’s a large rock. The usual explainers told us that it summed up the rich long history of Monument Moving, and while I suppose that’s true - Easter Island with its attendant ecological despoilation comes to mind - it also reminds us that this “monument” is not only unfinished, it has no intention of being finished. That would ruin the essence of the rock, I guess.

Time was a sculptor looked at a big slab of stone and saw the figure within he would liberate with hammer and chisel; time was, people gathered to see a monolith pass because it was a gift from Egypt, and stood for the power of another culture your culture had managed to subdue. Plus, it was cool; it was exotic. Time was, you valued something for what we could make of it, not the fact that you could just drag it somewhere else and say “now walk under it, and think things about big rocks.” Feh.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“When you consider the herculean challenge in getting it here, even in today’s high-tech world, you can’t help feeling awestruck by the natural world and humanity’s relative insignificance.”

Feh! I say. It’s a rock. The natural world abounds with rock. I dare say the universe has rock to spare. Rock does nothing. It might beat scissors if a relatively insignificant human picks up a rock and dashes it against the blades, but that requires the agency of humans.

The artist has done other such works, such as “Double Negative.”

The work consists of a long trench in the earth, 30 feet (9 m) wide, 50 feet (15 m) deep, and 1500 feet (457 m) long, created by the displacement of 240,000 tons of rock, mostly rhyolite and sandstone. Two trenches straddle either side of a natural canyon (into which the excavated material was dumped). The "negative" in the title thus refers in part to both the natural and man-made negative space that constitutes the work. The work essentially consists of what is not there, what has been displaced.

If this was the result of mining, there would be protests.

This blog has a comment with which I nodded in assent.


Something I forgot to post the other day: the very first appearance of Mickey Mouse. People think it’s “Tugboat Willie,” but that was the second cartoon. First released, but second made. The first was “Plane Crazy,” and Mickey is one of several identical mice. I thought he was the one being winched in with the wings, but since the next scene has Mickey reading a book about Lindbergh, it’s the mouse with the book.

Hey. no more flash! Doubleclick on this to play. Hope it works.



He comes in on the left, under the plane, and stands with his back to us. That’s the first Mickey moment in the history of animation. The Disney page will also have some Mickey title cards next week, but I’ll just say this: imagine you’re in a theater, and this appears.



It would be big.


Some improvements next week: who’s up for a new commenting system? I’m thinking about trying out Livewyre, because it will let folks comment without registering, and I know that’s kept a few from pitching in.

Check out the new Main Streets section, if you'd like: five new old views. Link up there on the top. Have a grand weekend!














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