los-angeles

My Barbarian

Steve Turner

My Barbarian, LA’s own all-singing, all-dancing, all-acting performance troupe (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade), can be read as a gentle parody of alt-rock’s claims to ownership over experiential extremes, as per the band My Chemical Romance. But one might also consider how names follow other names; after all, could there be a (My) Chemical Romance without a (My) Drug Hell without a (My) Bloody Valentine? My Barbarian nods to all of these, while also suggesting rapprochement. The inversion of “the other,” via the personal pronoun, into something approaching “the same” is central to everything the group does, beginning with their appropriation of a host of theatrical—moreover, musical-theatrical—tropes for purposes of performance art. “Show-core,” as they have dubbed their practice, is exactly the antithesis to the antitheatrical thesis of performance art.

Within the fine-art

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 get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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