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Machine Project's book party tonight

December 5, 2009 |  2:22 pm

Machineprojectlacma Machine Project is doing a book release party for its book "A Field Guide to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art" at LACMA tonight. Sounds pretty standard, right? But it's anything but.

Machine Project is the 5-year-old innovative gallery in Echo Park that's as much about doing stuff as showing stuff. Last year at LACMA, they installed 50 site-specific projects meant to throw the art, and how we experience it, into relief. A painting was re-created nearby in flowers; a unicorn skeleton was installed in the Japanese sculpture garden, near the La Brea Tar Pits; two alien tourists visiting the art (above) responded in unexpected ways. From our report:

A girl, tarred and feathered, and strangled by a bullwhip, was found in the corner of a quiet garden. Nearby, at the top of a two-story glass-brick facade, was a speed-metal guitarist pounding out Ted Nugent-like jams before a gothic archway -- complete with smoke machine and colored lights. Not far from that was a man covered from head to toe in a costume made entirely out of vintage black pepper canisters, which creaked and squealed as he moved.

The book being celebrated tonight includes photographs, plans and, as they say, "other assorted evidence that this momentous day actually happened." Will the party include more Machine Project installations like those on display last year? Find out tonight from 7 to 9 at LACMA.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The 2008 performance "Slow-Walking Color Takers" at LACMA. Credit: Sidonie Loiseleux / Machine Project