Friday Films > My Barbarian

Still from Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse

Friday, Jun 25, 2021 - 5:00 PM

Join us every last Friday of the month for live screenings of film and video works from the Museum’s permanent collection.

On Friday, June 25, we’re presenting My Barbarian’s Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse. Founded in Los Angeles in 2000, the performance collective My Barbarian is best known for its live musical events that draw from traditions of cabaret, political theater, and participatory art. In their film Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse, My Barbarian offers a generational reckoning with 1970s feminism, charting a lineage of the group’s maternal role models in art and life. The video, whose title conjoins landmark texts by Eleanor Roosevelt and psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, unfolds in a series of vignettes, featuring guest appearances by the artists’ own mothers, as well as two iconic feminist artists. Mary Kelly (born 1941), the conceptual artist whose own work on motherhood drew from psychoanalytic theory, appears as the Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) to deliver a monologue explicating Klein’s theories; meanwhile, Eleanor Roosevelt is played by Eleanor Antin (born 1935), whose use of theatricality and characters is a key influence for My Barbarian. Aligning with Klein’s theories, the video advances matrilineal affinities in place of the traditional masculinist and Freudian “anxiety of influence.” In the video’s finale, the artists repeatedly reenact Michelangelo’s Pietà on an empty stage. Taking turns playing Mary and Jesus, the group suggests that the maternal role is determined not by biology but by radical acts of care.

This screening will present the film in its entirety for free on Friday, June 25, at 5:00 PM PST. Find the film MCASD.Digital.