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The Contemporizer

Photo by Kevin Scanlon

Photo by Kevin Scanlon

In these days of prolific advertising, clever product placements, and buzzwords like “interactivity” and “branding,” did you know that even museums have a research-and-development department?

Not exactly, but LACMALab, the County Museum of Art’s experimental satellite program, which is celebrating its fifth and final show with “Consider This,” is as close as you’ll get. “Consider This” is designed by pop-art collagist Barbara Kruger and features works and collaborations by some of Los Angeles’ (and beyond) best contemporary talents.

Kelly Carney-Sicat conceived the groundbreaking LACMALab series with her mentor, and the program’s director, Robert Sain. Both come from the San Diego Children’s Museum. As an alternative to the usual museum experience, they wanted to see the experimental Los Angeles art agenda reach out to a young, diverse audience.

Carney-Sicat says the LACMALab has provided a forum for new art audiences, especially young ones, to challenge perceptions about the world and art’s place in it — this year’s program focused on politics, last year it was technology.

When asked about the impending end to the project in January, Carney-Sicat replies, “In a museum like LACMA, things must always change. This was an experiment in engaging audiences in a groundbreaking way, and perhaps it’s run its course. It was very successful, and we have learned a lot. I hope that the new [LACMA] director [Michael Govan] will continue the spirit of what LACMALab has accomplished.”

And Carney-Sicat, besides looking forward to the birth of her daughter in May, hopes to influence another public art program that integrates the community in a modern, relevant way.

“We are a contemporary culture, and we need to acknowledge that. Contemporary art within the community provides an avenue for dialogue and opens doors that might stay closed otherwise.”

Stay tuned.