New York

LAPD Inspects America

El Museo del Barrio

Beyond the big orange sign where the word “NOT” had been inserted between the words “MEN“ and “WORKING,” a few traffic safety cones dotted the stage. Indeed, the audience would witness a few wrecks and some de- (not re-) constructions during this performance. LAPD Inspects America shattered boundaries with the grace of a runaway garbage truck, making it difficult, first of all, to know even when the show had begun. A prerecorded voice described the act we were about to see as “a delicate balance between a volatile street lifestyle and the actors’ tender hearts,” while a couple of those actors fidgeted and jabbered in the front row, disrupting the piece from the start. The Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) creates political theater by and about the homeless, and doesn’t clean up its subject matter. The result is irritating, inept, raw, and very real.

LAPD emerged from a workshop set up

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.