Listening to Art

This Saturday, LACMA’s Muse membership group will put on an innovative program in the galleries fusing art and music. We talked to Jason Gaulton, Muse Coordinator, about organizing the event, working with 25+ DJs, and how the program will augment the usual museum experience.

What was the inspiration for this program?
One of Muse’s platforms is to celebrate art in all its forms and music is a form we’ve been especially eager to explore. LACMA is such a beautiful campus that just begs for a soundtrack. I have a background in concert promotion and am someone that cannot sustain without music. I often go through the galleries with my headphones in and notice differences in how I view the art. With the right song, paintings leap out of their frames and sculptures begin to move in mysterious ways. It’s an experience everyone should have and Muse is thrilled to present that opportunity on Saturday.

How were DJs chosen for each gallery? Did they pick galleries that inspired them?
The credit for the choosing the DJs goes to the fine people at dublab. The web radio collective excels at generating creative ideas for any number of scenarios and their crew took the concept and ran with it in incredible fashion. Frosty of dublab has been a regular at the museum bringing a wide array of DJs through the galleries to find their inspiration. Some DJs were obvious fits for certain collections from the beginning while others arrived at their space during the visits.

What was the planning process for the various DJs?
The planning process was different for each DJ. From the initial meeting of the minds, most DJs became repeat visitors while others disappeared into studios and workshops and not only did beats need to be created but so did ways to convey them. For example, Daedelus was nice enough to shake hands first but his attention was immediately diverted to Tim Burton. He whisked his wife away to inhale the exhibition and exhale the musical menagerie Toil and Trouble. Meanwhile, KCHUNG Radio used their visit to digest the layout of the BP Grand Entrance to figure out a way to go “silent” so the party continues outside all the way to 12:30 am. The end result of their hi-tech tinkering utilizes radio waves to create a DJ dance party like you’ve never heard and is going to be a sight to be seen.

Since museums don’t often have music playing in the galleries, how will this change the visitors’ experience?
I am not going to say it will be more fun. That would be rude to all other days at the museum, which are pretty amazing. I will say that there will be even more than normal for visitors to enjoy. For one, the museum after hours is gorgeous. The campus takes on an incredible glow at night that is rarely experienced due to our 8 pm closing time. Also, the headphone system means people have the option to forego a set and walk the galleries as usual but, on Saturday night, they can fit a pair on and have the chance to groove around the galleries.

Listen to Art: Muse ’til Midnight takes place this Saturday at LACMA in multiple galleries including Tim Burton, the newly-opened Asco: Elite of the Obsucure, A Retrospective, 1972-1987, plus the modern, contemporary, and Art of the Pacific galleries.

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