Fall 2016 R&D Season: DEMOCRACY

Illustration by Alexandro Segade for My Barbarian, 2015–16. Courtesy the artists and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

The Fall 2016 R&D Season: DEMOCRACY reflects on the potential redemption of a government “by the people for the people” in a moment when the urgency to build consensus may require the compromise of certain revolutionary principles. Operating across various presentational and pedagogical formats, the Season is anchored by a residency with My Barbarian (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade), who return to the museum after eight years of touring to present the culmination of their Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT) project, a performative investigation employing tools that have historically been used in radical theater to press for political revolution. Other activities this Season include Scamming the Patriarchy: A Youth Summit, organized by a committee of artists and activists; the release of Public Servants, the latest edition in the New Museum’s celebrated anthology series; and an evening of interpretive readings of “GIF novels” by Dennis Cooper, whose inventive use of social media platforms has recently brought the intersection between Terms of Service and freedom of speech into stark relief. Here, DEMOCRACY and its outcomes are considered with respect to matters of representation, suppression, equivocation, Constitutional protection, political identity, activism, and the responsibilities we have to consider the needs of people other than ourselves.


My Barbarian presents the culmination of an eight-year project, the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT), which began at the New Museum in 2008 and responds to legacies of revolutionary theater from the 1960s to the present.

PoLAAT Intro: Post-Paradise
Thursday October 20 and Friday October 21, 7 PM

Post-Party Dream State Caucus
Thursday November 3, 6:30 PM

PoLAAT Outro: Pre-Apocalypse
Thursday December 15 and Friday December 16, 7 PM


PoLAAT Recommends: An Expanded Sourcebook
for the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater
September 28, 2016–January 8, 2017

Assembled from recommendations by My Barbarian and other artists, curators, and scholars who have intersected with the PoLAAT over its eight-year life span, this presentation brings together scripts, recordings, critical texts, and other research materials to offer an expanded definition of political theater and a unique set of references for understanding some of the precedents that, directly or indirectly, inform the theories and practices of the PoLAAT method.


Scamming the Patriarchy: A Youth Summit
Sunday November 13, 2–6 PM

Organized by an emerging generation of artists, writers, and activists including BUFU, Brujas, Discwoman, and members of House of Ladosha, “Scamming the Patriarchy” will incorporate workshops, discussions, and other activities, all geared toward creating a space to consider the future of gender politics, focusing on methods for forging the worlds youth want to inhabit while grounding this work in legacies of the past.

Violations: An Evening of Interpretive Readings
of Dennis Cooper’s GIF Novels

Wednesday November 16, 7 PM

“Violations” is a response to Google’s recent deletion of author Dennis Cooper’s blog (for violations of Terms of Service without further explanation) and a celebration of the innovations in writing represented by a series of GIF novels he drafted there. Featuring interpretive readings from M. Lamar, Dorothea Lasky, Yvonne Meier, Aki Onda, Richard Hell, and Chris Cochrane with Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Niall Jones.


Organized by the New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement, R&D (Research and Development) Seasons connect projects across multiple platforms around a new organizing theme each fall, spring, and summer. Seasonal themes are used to frame artist residencies, exhibitions, live performances, conferences, screenings, online publications, after-school programs for teens, Family Day activities, and archival research. Anchoring the New Museum’s dedication to expanded forms of knowledge and cultural production, each theme is wide-ranging and limber, rather than illustrative; participating artists, scholars, and curators raise topical questions and often test thematic limits.

“My Barbarian: The Audience is Always Right” is organized by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement; Travis Chamberlain, Associate Curator of Performance and Manager of Public Programs; and Sara O’Keeffe, Assistant Curator. “PoLAAT Recommends” is organized by Chamberlain and Alicia Ritson, Research Fellow. “Scamming the Patriarchy” is co-organized by the Department of Education and Public Engagement with artists, writers, and activists including BUFU, Brujas, Discwoman, and members of House of Ladosha. “Violations” is organized by Chamberlain. The Experimental Study Program is organized by Shaun Leonardo, School, Youth & Community Programs Manager, and Emily Mello, Associate Director of Education. Vanessa Cuervo is the New Museum’s Fall 2016 Season Fellow.

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