LACMA to text, Tweet and tell (some very different) tales about itself in ‘Cell Phone Stories’ project


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Attention smartphone owners.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is launching ‘Cell Phone Stories,’ a three-month series beginning Saturday that will use mobile phone technology, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter to share essays and tales inspired by the museum and told by artists, actors and designers including Rainn Wilson of NBC’s ‘The Office’ and Rodarte founders Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

People who sign up for the series, which will end Sept. 6, will receive weekly texts alerting them to new offerings on LACMA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.


Artist Steve Fagin, who conceived the project, says LACMA director Michael Govan had asked him to ‘try to redefine how art is presented, to engage people in different ways and get them to see us and all museums a little differently.’

Fagin decided to focus on phone technology after writer Barry Yourgrau introduced him to Japanese keitai shosetsu -- the popular text-based cellphone narratives also known as ‘thumb novels.’ ‘It turned out to be the launching point for so many great ways to play with ideas and perceptions,’ he says. The ‘Cell Phone Stories’ lineup:

• ‘LACMA Live’ -- Video and performance artist Rich Bott will try to solve a fictional crime at the museum inspired by a Charles Willeford story. Bott will open the series at 1 p.m. Saturday, using SMS and Twitter

• ‘Imagining LACMA’ -- Yourgrau will daydream about visiting a museum he’s never been to

• ‘LACMA a la Mode’ -- The Mulleavys will create fashion sketches inspired by LACMA’s collection

• ‘I Hate LACMA’ -- Wilson, known as a celebrity Twitter master, will spend a weekend Tweeting all the reasons why no one should visit the museum


• ‘Stay Tuned’ -- Fagin and artists Adrienne Ferrari and Kianga Ford will present three separate mini-series in which they explore LACMA using what Fagin calls ‘sound, diary and Facebook simulation.’

To sign up for ‘Cell Phone Stories,’ text LACMA to 67553. Standard messaging rates apply. LACMA’s Twitter account is at and its Facebook account is at

-- Karen Wada