Under the Cover: My Barbarian

On the eve of their performance Transparency 2021 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade spoke with editor in chief David Velasco about the genesis of My Barbarian, how their practice models ways of production and kinds of social interactions, and how it feels to be back on stage together after a five-year hiatus from performing. Artforum’s November issue not only presents My Barbarian’s Silver Minds, 2006, on its cover, but also features Catherine Quan Damman’s essay “Happier Endings: The Art of My Barbarian.”

Under the Cover” is a monthly web series of conversations with the artists whose work appears on the magazine’s cover.

My Barbarian is an art collective whose work uses performance to play with social difficulties, theatricalize historical problems, and imagine ways of being together. For over twenty years, its members Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade have made plays, masks, videos, drawings, music, installations, tests, events, puppets and paintings, presenting their work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and many other institutions, galleries and performances spaces. A two-part survey of their work, organized by Adrienne Edwards with Mia Matthias, is currently on view at the Whitney Museum through February 27, 2022.