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  • Summary: Prominently displayed outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), land artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass gained worldwide recognition during its installation in 2012. Over 10 nights, a 340-ton solid granite boulder crawled through Southern California neighborhoods on aProminently displayed outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), land artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass gained worldwide recognition during its installation in 2012. Over 10 nights, a 340-ton solid granite boulder crawled through Southern California neighborhoods on a 294-foot-long, 206-wheeled trailer. Thousands of people came out to watch it travel through their communities. It is one of the only pieces of art in recent history to inspire such a reaction in pop culture. The film masterfully interweaves this artist's biography, the dreams of a major museum, and the uniting of a city, examining the perennial question: what is art? [First Run Features] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Nov 26, 2013
    90
    Pray deftly maintains the integrity and momentum of his story’s various strands while moving backward and forward in time, and from one discreet subtopic to another, his segues as unpredictable as they are imperceptible.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    Nov 26, 2013
    90
    Pray does not browbeat viewers into applauding the artist’s achievement. The filmmaker thoughtfully documents a phenomenon and allows the arguments to continue to rage after the lights come on.
  3. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 4, 2014
    90
    Well-directed with exceptional access by veteran documentarian Doug Pray, whose previous films include "Hype!," "Scratch" and "Art & Copy," Levitated Mass in essence intercuts three stories, each of which is more unexpected than one might imagine.
  4. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    Nov 26, 2013
    83
    The proximity, orientation, and monumental nature is what makes Levitated Mass the piece so powerful, and Levitated Mass the film not only captures that but puts those ideals forth as something culturally and socially important, something that happened when the mass met the masses.
  5. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Nov 13, 2014
    80
    [A] sneakily compelling documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew Lapin
    Sep 1, 2014
    70
    Once that rock gets rolling, Levitated Mass turns into a fun, loopy portrait of one crazy idea that became a SoCal public-art cornerstone.
  7. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Sep 2, 2014
    70
    With a deft hand, Pray juxtaposes a history of Heizer's revolutionary career as a "negative space" sculptor with an insider's view of the insanely complex planning it took to move the two-story monolith.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Dec 14, 2014
    8
    A testament to the power of art, as well as it's variable interpretability, the labor and vision required to achieve it, it's necessity, asA testament to the power of art, as well as it's variable interpretability, the labor and vision required to achieve it, it's necessity, as well as it's sometimes lack of practicality, as well as a boatload of other themes that could be dreamed up by any given viewer's perceptions (much like the exhibit itself), the documentary Levitated Mass is, simply put, staggering. It functions not only as a celebration of the capacity of mankind's achievement, but as a personal examination of an artist's esoteric, yet-mind-bogglingly immense, body of work. Simply basking in the sheer monolithic enormity of the rock in public locales provides a juxtaposition that is funny, profound, humbling, and, essentially, human. I do wish that we were given a deeper insight into the mind of Heizer, or at least a more in-depth examination of him as a person. I understand that he is kind of myth to the public and acquiring information about him may be difficult, but it just seems like an aspect of Levitated Mass that is undernourished. His appearance at the end could have been more climactic and surprising if he had been portrayed more as a recluse, but he seems very personable and not at all camera-shy. Other than that minor gripe, this is a spellbinding watch from start to finish. You never once stop pondering the potential meaning of it all, or the multiple meanings, for that matter. If you value art as an abstraction, or are even remotely interested in the amazing story of how they moved this obelisk 105 miles and built an interactive exhibit for it, I'd check out Levitated Mass. Expand

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