It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime moment. There I was at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday as the 340-ton boulder — soon to be installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as land artist Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” — rolled down Wilshire Boulevard and posed for its photo opp in front of the museum.
We’ve all heard the comments, that money could be better spent on food for the hungry, health care, education, or any number of other things in need. Sure, that’s true. But for the record, no taxpayer dollars were spent in imagining, creating or transporting this artwork. And as LACMA has pointed out, transporting and constructing the megalith’s permanent home helped create a lot of jobs.
But really, does art need to justify itself in terms of job creation? Sometimes there are no answers. Just feel it.
Heizer takes inspiration from ancient sculptures, which were built to celebrate religions or empires. For him they generate their sense of awe through intense “commitment” to making an “architecturally sized” work that becomes “both the object and the atmosphere.”
“Levitated Mass” debuts this summer, sitting atop a 456-foot concrete-lined slot that will descend 15 feet beneath the rock, and back up again — which is where you’ll have the opportunity to consider whether “Levitated Mass” moves you.
Artful St. Patrick’s Day
For those who are worried about venturing out on St. Patrick’s Day, there is a safer way to enjoy your Saturday without having to deal with raucous party animals. Go to the Santa Monica Airport Art Walk. All events are free and open to the public.
On March 17, from 12 p.m. — 5 p.m., more than 60 artists and performers invite you into their private studios and public spaces for demonstrations, art workshops, performances, food trucks and lots of family activities.
Start at Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Ave. — you might just pick up a future classic for a song at the silent auction, with bids starting at only $75. Or discover an upcoming art talent via the Santa Monica College art mentor program, being showcased alongside SMC’s dynamic ceramic arts program.
There will be Irish jig dancing along with bluegrass, blues and country music, but the groundbreaking group art show, “Breaking in Two: Provocative Visions of Motherhood,” curated by artist Bruria Finkel, offers a different kind of dance experience. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., an interdisciplinary and intergenerational group of women, all of whom are artists and mothers, will illuminate the full cycle of mothering via spoken word and movement, accompanied by original music, also composed by artist-mothers.
The Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Way, puts on a series the third Sunday of every month, where directors, actors and writers are challenged to create a play in just 10.5 hours, and then to present it to the audience. They’ll showcase their “Café Plays” during the art walk. While you’re there, pick up a ticket for their critically-acclaimed production of “The Lonesome West” by Martin McDonagh, which ends its already-extended run on March 31.
And newly reopened Museum of Flying, at 3100 Airport Ave., offers tours every half hour between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., as it celebrates the 88th anniversary of the first flight around the world that took off from Santa Monica Airport on March 17, 1924.
Have you always wished you could own an art masterpiece, if only you could afford one? Well, sophisticated collectors and regular folks alike have an equal opportunity to do just that this Saturday as the Santa Monica Museum of Art puts on one of the most ingenious art sales/fundraisers anywhere in the world.
It’s called Incognito — all you need to do is trust your own instincts.
Now in its eighth year, and rumored to be the best Incognito yet, 500 artists — renowned names such as John Baldessari, Judy Chicago and Mark Bradford, along with tomorrow’s art stars — provide 650 artworks, all the same size (8-by-10 inches), all for sale for $350 (plus tax). The catch is that the signatures are on the back, hidden from your view. So if you like it, nab it!
The doors open at 7 p.m. sharp and trust me on this, wear running shoes because you’ll be sprinting past everyone to get to the works you want. Visit www.smmoa.org for tickets; click on the Pre/Incognito button at the bottom of the page.
Take the bike
Finally, the monthly mile-long Venice Art Crawl tonight (March 15) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. features celebrity photographers, new murals, a 21st century salon and a unique way to travel the route — by bike! BYO-Bike and Bryan Moss Freeman of Venice Bike Tours will take you along for free to each of the stops along the crawl, with amusing and insightful tales of Venice history, landmarks and legends. For details, go to veniceartcrawl.com.
Sarah Spitz is a former freelance arts producer for National Public Radio and a producer for public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica. She reviews theatre for LAOpeningNights.com.