Originating at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in fall 2021, ICA LA will present My Barbarian in the fall of 2022. For two decades, the members of My Barbarian—Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade—have used performance to theatricalize social issues, adapting narratives from modern plays, historical texts, and mass media into structures for their performances. Instead of producing any comprehensible or cohesive narrative, however, My Barbarian regurgitates their disparate influences to combine the epic storytelling formats of classical theater together with Marxist critique, through a queer lens embracing the aesthetics of camp and kitsch as a strategy of upending fixed notions of taste or convention. Armed with this absurdist sensibility, the troupe turns their ethos of institutional critique to defamiliarize the familiar and reveal the mythology of late-stage capitalism. Designed to be an immersive installation in a single gallery, the exhibition features a two-hour compilation of new edits to the trio’s years of collaborative work, replete with theatrical lighting that allows the objects to emerge and disappear from view, and will be accompanied by a series of live performances.
Silver Minds, 2006.
Rehearsal photograph, Black Dragon Canyon, Utah.
Courtesy of the artists
Credits & Sponsors
My Barbarian is organized by Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Mia Matthias, Curatorial Assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art. The presentation at ICA LA is organized by Anne Ellegood, Good Works Executive Director, with Caroline Ellen Liou, Curatorial Assistant.