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Art review: My Barbarian at Human Resources

March 8, 2012 |  7:00 pm

My Barbarian, Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater (installation view)

Much of what is unique, relevant and delightful about the performance collective My Barbarian is contained in the title of its current exhibition at Human Resources: “Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater.”

Say it out loud a few times — it’s lovely on the tongue and only gets funnier the more you repeat it.

Note the ironic conceptual gulf (aesthetic, economic and ideological) between the nearly homophonic “broke” and “Baroque”; the clever dance of that syntactically pivotal apostrophe (“people’s,” “peoples’”); the understated nod to pressing political realities — namely, the dawning awareness brought on by the recession that we live in an age of egregious economic disparity, in which the Baroque — or those socio-political forces there engendered — have long since washed their hands of the broke and retreated to the comfort of their private home theaters. 

It is much to our benefit that My Barbarian (the trio of Jade Gordon, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade) remains out here with the rest of us.

In an exhibition that comfortably combines numerous aspects of the collective’s dizzily multifaceted output — one full-length video, projected at a large scale, as well as several  sculptural video installations; an appealing mélange of props, masks and wigs; a handsomely constructed puppet theater; and room for the numerous live performances that occurred over the course of the month, by My Barbarian as well as others — the group tackles the problem of inequity, both in the art world and the economy at large, by way of the tropes of Classical and Baroque theater.

The effect, as the collective continues to prove, is no less nuanced for being a whole lot of fun.


More art reviews from the Los Angeles Times 

— Holly Myers

Human Resources, 410 Cottage Home St., Los Angeles, (213) 290-4752, through March 10. Closed Sunday through Wednesday.

Photo: My Barbarian, Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater (installation view), 2012. Credit: My Barbarian.