My Barbarian, The Audience is Always Right: How to do the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater, 2016 (still). Video, sound, color; 45 min. Courtesy the artists and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
PoLAAT Intro: Post-Paradise is the first of two culminating performances of the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT), a project initiated by My Barbarian at the New Museum in 2008. The “Post-Paradise” of the performance’s title refers to the Living Theater’s Paradise Now (1968), which Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s antiteater responded to with the production of Pre-Paradise, Sorry Now (1969). The PoLAAT situates its own introduction in the aftermath of Fassbinder’s project. An international cast of past PoLAAT participants, as well as new initiates, will engage in a ten-day master class led by My Barbarian leading up to this performance, which will consider the legacies of radical theater and politics, set against a contemporary backdrop of political energy and exhaustion.
The luminary cast will include: Wenzel Bilger, Vicente Colomar, Miguel Gutierrez, Ryan G. Hinds, Matana Roberts, Sahar Sepahdari, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, and Joce and Naty Tremblay.
Working at the intersection of theater, visual arts, and critical practice, the collective My Barbarian (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade) uses performance to theatricalize social problems and imagine ways of being together. The group’s New Museum exhibition and residency, “The Audience is Always Right,” are organized as part of the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s R&D Season: DEMOCRACY. The residency will include a series of workshops, performances, and public programs that will culminate the eight-year international tour of My Barbarian’s project the PoLAAT. The performances and workshops will bring together performers and artists from different backgrounds and cultural sites—including choreographers, actors, musicians, and visual artists from Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas—to collectively consider current political situations near and far. The title of the exhibition and related residency takes on a critical and ironic undertone in this dangerous moment when politics are more hyperbolic and spectacle-driven than ever before: “The Audience is Always Right.” Except, of course, when they are wrong.
“My Barbarian: The Audience is Always Right” is made possible by support provided by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.
Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund. Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.
Further exhibition support is provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.
We gratefully acknowledge the New Museum Council for Artists’ Research and Residencies.
Special thanks to Creative Capital, who supported international PoLAAT participants’ travel; to the Wexner Center for the Arts, who provided video production support; the French Institute Alliance Française; and to Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
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