Asher Hartman is a transgender writer, director and maker of live performances. His works, which combine strategies of theater and performance art, grapple with social and political issues in an era of chronic crisis, particularly themes of American violence. His works are dense, visual, poetic embodied texts, infused with clown and cringe humor, evidence of trance and psychic journeying, set in installations designed to disorient, unnerve, and dislodge deep feeling.
Asher is the director and founder of Gawdafful National Theater, a group of visual artists, actors, and performance artists. Gawdafful performances large-scale full length performances include the 6-part live-in installation about elves and white supremacy, “The Dope Elf” at Yale Union, Portland, Oregon and (soon, on film) at The Lab, San Francisco (2021); “The Lost Privilege Company,” Visions and Voices USC, LA (2018); “Sorry, Atlantis, Or Eden’s Achin’ Organ Seeks Revenge,” Machine Project, LA (2017); “Mr. Akita,” Hauser & Wirth, LA, (2017); the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2017), and “The Silver, the Black, the Wicked Dance,” commissioned by LACMA (2016), Mr. Akita at The Tang Art Museum, NY (2015), Purple Electric Play! Machine Project, (2014), “Glass Bang” at the MAK Center for Art & Architecture’s RM Schindler’s Fitzpatrick-Leland House as part of Machine Project’s engagement in the Getty Museum’s “Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.” (2013) and with Cannonball in Miami as “The Florida Room” and Southern Exposure in San Francisco (2013), “See What Love the Father Has Given Us, Machine Project, (2012), “All Stars of Non-Violet Communication” (LACE, Highways Performance Space, Human Resources 2011), and “Annie Okay! (The Hammer Museum, LA, 2010). His book, Mad Clot on a Holy Bone (Allen and O’Dwyer, eds.) was published in 2020 by X Artists’ Books.
Asher Hartman is/was, will always be, one half of the intuitive duo Krystal Krunch (with Haruko Tanaka, now deceased) whose performances and workshops were presented in variety of venues including at The Pulitzer Art Museum (St. Louis, 2016); The Hayward Gallery (London, 2012), The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, 2012), The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburg, 2012); Real Art Ways (Hartford, 2013), Extrapool (Netherlands, 2013), and numerous workshops with Machine Project.
Recent lectures and presentations include “Skeletal Readings: A meditation and conversation with Asher Hartman and Rossen Ventzislavov” at ICA, Los Angeles; “Serving It Cold” at Photobook: Reset (2018) at C/O Berlin; “Slow Architecture” at Crystal Bridges, Arkansas (2018); “Mind Reading” at the Philbrook Museum, Tulsa (2018); “Conversation with Johanna Hedva” Skylight Books, 2018; “The Intricate Speech of Intimate Objects” at Gasworks, London (2017); ”Psychic Reading of the Gamble House,” a short film by David Fenster (2014); Acts of Gawd: Performance as Divine Communication,” Perez Art Museum, Miami, Florida (2014). Recent teaching includes classes and workshops at USC, Art Center, Pomona College, Otis College of Art and Design, CalArts, and Ox-Bow School of Arts in Michigan.