In early 1969, a young artist working in the Nevada desert had an idea for an epic sculpture. Michael Heizer had found a 120-ton boulder in the mountains and wanted to set it above a trench dug in a dry lake bed.
Visitors would be able to walk into the trench and look up at the giant rock, as though itwere floating overhead. It would be a means of celebrating and also updating the tradition of ancient monoliths by giving a rare view of a stone from underneath.
He called the work “Levitated Mass.”
With a small crew, he dug the trench in the lake bed, but the boulder was a problem. “We went to lift the rock up, and it broke the boom on the crane,” Heizer recalled.
Los Angeles Times, column one: Michael Heizer’s Calling is Set in Stone