Art + Technology Laboratory at LACMA


We spent a little time with Joel Ferree of LACMA’s brand, spanking new Art + Technology Lab.  It’s a gorgeous, recently-renovated space with a cool green mood that is surely a boost to the creativity of all who enter.Art + Tech Lab/LACMA

The Lab has two missions – first, to grant $50,000 to a small number of artists to embark upon a year-long project that combines – you guessed it – art and technology. The staff is reviewing the first wave of submissions now, searching for projects with an overlap in the creative process of art and tech. With funding from giants such as Google and SpaceX, sky is literally the limit for the creative process — grantees will be encouraged to explore with complete freedom and “purposeful risk”  — which means that failure is a welcome option.

In other words, whatever is learned in the process, including failure, is equally and vitally important. Isn’t that a nice lesson to teach kids about creativity?

Here’s the view from the work table in the lab.

Art + Tech Lab/LACMA

The second mission is to share the learning process with the public, which will take the form of innovative workshops that you and your family can attend. Sign up for LACMA’s newsletter to receive notice about these unique opportunities, the first of which took place last week and involved construction of amplifiers from found materials, led by a noise artist from Derelict Electronics. You can read more about the event here.

Art + Tech Lab/LACMA

Combining art and technology is hardly a new idea – in fact, LACMA ran a similar program in the 1960s, and one of the artists was none other than James Turrell, whose ebullient light sculpture is currently on view at the museum. James Turrell and Robert Irwin worked with Ed Wortz, a Garrett Corporation psychologist who did human-factors engineering for NASA missions, researching the “Ganzfeld” concept which describes the experience of snowblind arctic explorers or pilots navigating dense fog. The result, all these years later, can be experienced in Turrell’s popular Ganzfeld light sculptures, one of which is currently on view at the museum.


So… something that was explored over thirty years ago at an art/tech incubator has come to fruition many years later, much to the delight of art appreciators everywhere. If your family hasn’t experienced the luminous light of Ganzfeld, do so before April 13 when the show closes.

Adjacent to the lab is the museum’s extensive Research Library, which is available to anyone, anytime for research purposes. That means that your AP Art History students can hang out in the cool, green space when they’re working on a project.  Or your budding Michaleangelo can spend a day paging through drawing catalogues. All sorts of cool items abound in this brainiac space, including Ed Rusch’s handmade photo books and copious catalogues and tomes on specific artists.Research Library/LACMA

With digital printing becoming more and more mainstream, and Google Glasses in our inevitable future, it’s never too early to explore your kids to the many ways to apply their ideas and talents in the world.