Riverside Boulder Turns Into Work of Art

When a 340-ton boulder is moved from its Riverside-area quarry home, it will turn from a geological artifact into a work of art, soon to be on display at a Los Angeles museum

Most mornings by 5 a.m. you will find crews well into their work day at Stone Valley Materials in Glen Avon.

But these days, the Riverside-area quarry is getting ready for a million-dollar move.

A 340-ton boulder known simply as "The Rock" is about to be moved to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to become the centerpiece of a new permanent earth exhibit called Levitated Mass.

"Artistic value. The fact that it's a solid piece of granite, you know our rock here is so fractured that it's really unusual to have a piece this kind of big and this complete," according to Stephen Vanderhart of Stone Valley Materials

Earth artist Michael Heizer bought The Rock from the quarry’s previous owners for $120,000, but workers say the pricey piece of art was actually a mistake.

After being blasted off the face of a granite hillside, The Rock remained in-tact and solid.

"The art museum guy came out and said that there's going to be a 400' sidewalk that goes out underneath it," according to Vanderhart, "so the art installation's called Levitated Mass, and you'll be able to walk underneath the monolith."

But, of course, There's a catch.

How do you move a mammoth piece of granite.

"They're gonna assemble a trailer around it," says Vanderhart. "It's going to have 200 tires. It will be 200' long. There'll be a semi-tractor pulling, and one pushing it. They'll go about eight miles an hour. It will take eight days to get there. They'll do it all at night, and take surface streets the entire way. It will be quite an undertaking.”

The rumored price tag for this "epic" move. $1.5 million.

"As a rock quarry we embrace the art community, and if they want another one such as this, we'll make 'em another one," promises Vanderhart.

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