My Barbarian, production image for The Audience is Always Right: How to do the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater, 2016. Video, sound, color; 45 min. Courtesy the artists and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
This event is currently at capacity. A standby list will begin at 6 p.m. the day of the event with sign up in-person only.
Is eight years a history? My Barbarian’s Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT) began during the Democratic primary in 2008 and returns to its place of origin, the New Museum, amid another presidential bid: the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election. At the time of its primal scene, the PoLAAT was influenced by the idea that democracy itself could be redeemed. However, in the current climate, this assumption seems to raise a more pointed question about our political system.
Days before the election, My Barbarian, invite you to become a superdelegate in an unconventional political convention, featuring Zoe Leonard, Ryan McNamara, Tavia Nyong’o, A.L. Steiner, Christine Sun Kim, Kali Wilder, and other special guests. Prompted by speeches, anthems, and games, the audience will explore group identities and cast votes in a hyperbolically absurd caucus format. Your task: the promising and dangerous work of building “meaningful” consensus.
The caucus coincides with the museum’s Pay What You Wish hours, which begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday nights. A livestream of the caucus, with live commentary by Steiner and McNamara, will be presented in the Fifth Floor “Spin Room,” within My Barbarian’s exhibition “The Audience is Always Right.”
You may also view this livestream from off-site during the event (and add your own commentary) here R
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 past and present 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.
This project is co-presented with the French Institute Alliance Française as part of the Crossing the Line Festival 2016.
“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; the Wexner Center for the Arts, who provided video production support; and to Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
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