Like a lot of kids (or maybe not), I had a fascination with rocks when I was younger. That said, I was rather nonplussed by the idea of LACMA spending $10 million to put a granite boulder on its lawn. Thinking perhaps I was too cynical, I headed to Figueroa St., where the rock was parked just north of Florence, to see what everyone else thought about it.
The small crowd that had gathered there Friday afternoon seemed more impressed by the spectacle than the rock. A father that had brought his family from Commerce said he’d been tracking the rock like Santa, and talked excitedly about how this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A woman from Inglewood kept shouting, “This is crazy!” as she snapped photos and wanted to know why residents hadn’t thrown a party for the rock like they did in Long Beach. A resident of the area said he didn’t have much choice about coming to see it, being that it was parked in front of his house.
A grandfather from the West Side had brought his grandchildren to see it, feeling that the event was something memorable that they should see together. His 10 year old grandson, however, was more interested in the police car of one of the officers watching over the rock. He wanted to know if the spotlights on the front of the car were the kind that could see through the road and find criminals that were hiding underground.
“He plays a lot of video games,” the grandfather apologized.
“What do you think of the rock?” I asked the kid.
“The truck has 160 wheels!!” he shouted.
Actually, it had 196.
“How much do you think this thing cost?” asked a woman videotaping the rock. “You have to wonder…”
“Mmm hmm,” said another lady. “But I bet it’s really beautiful underneath that shrink wrap.”
I showed her the information card LACMA had given me with a sketch of the boulder.
“Ok, maybe not…But I hear you’ll get to walk under it once they put it up?” she paused. “How much did you say this thing cost?”
In dollar terms, LACMA estimated that the total cost was about $10 million. The tab was picked up by private donors, with the costs of staffing road closures — about $203,400 — picked up by Emmert International.