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
What happens when consensus fails? When the collective makes the wrong choice? In an age of mediated celebritocracy, Is democracy doomed? While answers are hard to come by, some coping mechanisms, as well as strategies for resistance, are offered in Pre-Apocalypse, the group-authored final performance of the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT), an eight-year project first initiated at the New Museum in 2008. The collective My Barbarian leads an international—and intersectional—group of actors, dancers, musicians and visual artists, in a performance that reflects on the legacies of the Obama era and the new political realities on the horizon. While some may look to art as an escape, the PoLAAT engages the audience with the playful, painful process of being in a group. There is no escape. Enjoy the struggle!
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.
The luminary cast of this, the second of two final PoLAAT performances, both presented at the New Museum as part of the Fall 2016 R&D Season: DEMOCRACY, includes: Morgan Bassichis, Jasmine Hughes, Obehi Janice, Amber Marsh, Sam Greenleaf Miller, Will Rawls, Manuel Rodríguez, Meir Tati, and Larissa Velez-Jackson.
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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