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. His works are dense, visual, poetic embodied texts, infused with clown and cringe humor, evidence of trance and psychic journeying, set in engulfing installations designed to disorient, unnerve, and elicit strong feeling. Asher is the director and founder of Gawdafful National Theater, a loose association of visual artists, actors, and performance artists. Upcoming performances include “It’s Better to Start Out Ugly,” The Lab, San Francisco, 2023; Recent past Gawdafful performances include a long-form project, “The Dope Elf” and “The Dope Elf: Organized Around the Erotics of Doing You In” (2021-2019) a series of traveling performances and six short films supported by The Lab in San Francisco and Yale Union in Portland, Oregon. A great deal of Hartman’s theatrical work was developed with the support of Machine Project, Los Angeles from 2010-2017. X Artists’ Books published his first book of plays, “Mad Clot on a Holy Bone” in 2020.
Education: UCLA (Theater, 1981) CalArts, MFA (Studio Art, 2003)
Selected full-length performances
2023 “It’s Better to Start Out Ugly” The Lab, San Francisco
2021 “Organized Around the Erotics of Doing You In” The Lab, San Francisco
2021 “The Dope Elf Films” The Lab, San Francisco
2019 “The Dope Elf ” Yale Union, Portland, Oregon
2017 “Sorry Atlantis: Eden’s Achin’ Organ Seeks Revenge” Machine Project, Los Angeles
2016 “Mr. Akita” Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley
2016 “The Silver, the Black, the Wicked Dance” LACMA, Los Angeles
2015 “Mr. Akita” Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, New York
2014 “Purple Electric Play” Machine Project, Los Angeles
2013 “Glass Bang” Machine Project as part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A and the MAK Center Cannonball, Miami, Florida, Artbound, PBS, Season 4, Episode 2 Southern Exposure, San Francisco Machine Project, Los Angeles LACE, Los Angeles
2012 “See What Love The Father Has Given Us” Machine Project, Los Angeles
2011 “The All Stars of Non-Violet Communication” Human Resources and Highways Performance Space
2010 “Annie Okay” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
“Bad Thing,” Sea and Space Explorations, Los Angeles
Selected Group Exhibitions
2022 “Lifes” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
“Asher Hartman, Emily Mast, Jasmine Orpilla, Maria Maea” Human Resources, Los Angeles
“Text a Love a Muse,” General Projects, 2220 Arts + Archives, Los Angeles
2020 “Artists in Presidents” Constance Hockaday, CAP/UCLA, Los Angeles
“Defunct (Exchanges)” Gallery Platform, Los Angeles
2019 “C’Baret” LAX/Art, Los Angeles
2018 Archive Fever: Lost Words, Buried Voices, Visions & Voices, USC, Los Angeles Pieter, Los Angeles
2017 “@Sea #12 Borderless” The Poetic Research Bureau at The Hammer, Los Angeles
2014 “Intimate Science” The New School for Design, New York
2013 “Intimate Science” Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, “Sanctify” Vincent Price Museum, Los Angeles, “Kant Noch Wal” Extrapool, Nijmegen, Netherlands
2012 “Wide Open School” The Hayward Gallery, London, England, “The Internal Flame Parlour” The Apiary, London, “The Never Been to Me Tour” The Walker Art Center, Minneaopolis, Mn, “Intimate Science” Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
2010 “Qualia: Asher Hartman, Skylar Haskard, Jason Yates” Human Resources, Los Angeles
2009 “Beijing Open Performance Fest” Beijing, China, “MIX//NYC” Film Festival, New York, New York
2009 “The Images Festival” Toronto, Canada
Selected Lectures, Workshops, Events, and Presentations
2021 “Gawdafful Theater and Asher Hartman” The Lab, San Francisco
2020 “Mad Clot on a Holy Bone: Conversation with Asher Hartman and Chiron Armand” NYU Tisch, Performance Studies, New York
Visiting Artist Lecture, Rutgers, New Jersey
2019 Skeletal Readings: Asher Hartman with Rossen Ventzislavov” X-Tra Winter Launch, ICA/L
Artist Talk,“Purple Iridiescent Bone” FD13, Minneapolis, MN
2018 Visiting Artist, Ox Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI
“Mind Reading” Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
“Slow Architecture” Crystal Bridges, Arkansas
“Photobook: Reset” C/O Berlin, Germany
2017 Visiting Artist, University of Las Vegas, Nevada
Surfaces Sensitive to Light, Pulitzer Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
A Faraway Place Right Nearby, Machine Project, Los Angeles
The Intricate Speech of Intimate Objects, Gasworks, London
Lecturer, Performance Tactics, Otis College of Art and Design
Psychic Skills for Curators, Machine Project, Los Angeles
2014 Acts of Gawd: Performance as Divine Psychic Reading of the Gamble Hous Communication, Perez Art Museum, Miami, Florida, Film by David Fenster
2022-2019 Instructor, Interpretive Strategies for Performance, with José Luis Blondet Theater, Cal Arts, Valencia
2022-2020 Instructor, New Genres and Studio Visits, Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles
2018 Visiting Instructor, BFA Enhancement Program, Theater, Cal Arts, Valencia, CA
2016-2005 Painting and Drawing, UC Riverside, Riverside, Calfornia
I’ve been a visiting artist at Pomona College, guest lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design, Art Center, CalArts, and UC Riverside multiple times, as well as at USC, Woodbury College, and Occidental College.
Intuitive teaching events include programs and workshops at The Walker Art Center, Hayward Gallery London; Gasworks, London; the Apiary, London, Extrapool, Netherlands; Pulitzer Art Museum, St. Louis; Philbrook Mu- seum, Tulsa; The New School for Design, New York; The Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Southern Exposure, San Francisco; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Vincent Price Museum, Los Angeles; C/O Berlin, Germany; Crystal Bridges, Arkansas; Perez Art Museum, Miami; Machine Project, Los Angeles; CalArts, Valencia; Pomona College, Claremont, California; Otis College of Art and Design,
2019 FCA Emergency Grant
2011 CCI Artist Resource Completion Grant
2010 Durfee Artist Resource Completion Gran
2022 The Hammer Museum, Lifes, curated by Aram Moshayedi Provocation, TDR/The Drama Review
2021 LeNormand, Isabelle, The Genius List, Asher Hartman Psychic Intuitive, thegeniuslist.com
Quick, Genevieve, “In tacking white patriarchy, The Dope Elf erods life-fiction boundaries,”48 Hills
Fox, Michael, “Now Playing! Gawdafful National Theater Acts Out at The Lab,
KQED, The Do List, June 24.
2020 Hartman Asher, Mad Clot on a Holy Bone: The Gawdafful Plays of Asher Hartman, X Artists’ Books
Sarbanes, Janet, “The Gawdafful Plays of Asher Hartman,” American Theater,October 15, 2020
Choksi, Neha, “It is Dense and Bears Repetition: Notes on Rehearsals of Asher Hartman’s The Dope Elf ” riting.org
Nys Dambrot, Shana “Meet an Artist Monday: Asher Hartman” by Shana, LA Weekly, May 25
Stromberg, Matt, “50 Artists Step Into the Role of President,” Hyperallergic, September 15,
2019 Daghlian, Martha, “TBA Report: aggressive whimsy, meditative chaos, kinetic violin,” Oregon Arts Watch, September 17, 2019.
Cohlmia, Kyle, “The Dope Elf considers white power,” Oregon Arts Watch, October
McLaughlin, Laurel V., “The Dope Elf at Yale Union,” Art Practical, November 6, 201928, 2019
2018 Ventzislavov, Rossen A Reality to Call Our Own, Asher Hartman: Sorry, Atlantis: Eden’s Achin’ Organ Seeks Revenge, Xtra, Winter 2019, Vol. 21, No. 2.
Nyende, Jasmine; Alan Nakagawa, Sorry, Atlantis: Eden’s Achin’ Organ Seeks Revenge by Asher Hartman, riting, 2018.
2017 Stromberg, Matt, Mixing Camp and Classical Myth in a Play About War and Repression, Hyperallergic, September 19, 2017.
Various Authors, “Extra Seasoning: Artistic Directors Share Their Faves,” American Theatre
Stromberg, Matt, “An Absurdist Play about Art-Making at Hauser & Wirth, Hyperallergic, March 2, 2017
2016 Blondet, Jose Luis, “A Conversation with Asher Hartman on The Silver, the Black, the Wicked Dance,” Unframed, April 30, 2016.
laub, laub, “An Interview with Asher Hartman in the afterglow of The Silver, the Black, the Wicked Dance,” Notes On Looking, July 6, 2016.
Timmons, Matt and Ben White, The People, Insert Blanc Press, Ep. 41, Asher Hartman & Chelsea Rector: The People, July 16, podcast.
Hartman, Asher, “Skin of the Actor Teeth of the Artist,” The Brooklyn Rail, July 11,2016.
2015 Rosenthal, Tracy Jeanne, “Los Angeles Asher Hartman, Machine Project,” Art in America, March 2015.
Tuck, Geoff, The body as a site of political struggle, Notes on Looking, notesonlooking.com, March 9, 2011
Cheh, Carol. Human Resources Reopens Performance Art Space. LA Weekly Blogs, May 2, 2011
2015 Eler, Alicia, “Asher Hartman’s Ritualistic Marathons,” Art 21 Magazine, Jan/Feb.
Cheh, Carol, “Asher Hartman with Carol Cheh,” Coronagaph, February, 2015.
2014 Yank, Sue Bell, “Ecstasy of The Ecstasy of Ambiguity: Asher Hartman’s Purple Electric Play” KCET Artbound, December 9, 2014.
Wagley, Catherine, “Playwright-Psychic Asher Hartman’s New Work Combine French Revolution with Food Puppets in His New Play,” LA Weekly, Friday, October 31, 2014, p.32-33.
Stromberg, Matt. “Asher Hartman and the Puppets of Revolution,” Hyperallergic, December 15, 2014.
Tylevich, Katya, “Domestic Drama,” Director Asher Hartman talks about casting architecture for his unusual play,” Mark Magazine #47, Dec/Jan, 2014.
Tuck, Geoff, Ed. Dreamscapes of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Blanc Press, 2014.
KCET, Artbound Special Episode, The Machine Project Field Guide to LA Architecture, KCET, first aired March 6, 2014. Glass Bang played in its entirety.
Taylor-Hochberg, Amelia, “Home is where the art is: Contemporary Artists and the Modern House,” Archinect, November, 26, 2014.
Williams, Maxwell, Asher Hartman’s Glass Bang. Artbound, January 28, 2014. online
Barragan, Bianca, Watch Famous Gamble House Get a Stunning Psychic Reading, Curbed, LA, Friday, Oct 3.
Taylor-Hochberg,Amelia, “Performing the ghosts of the Gamble House,” Archinect, October.
“A psychic reading in a linen closet,” LA Times, online
2013 Tuck, Geoff, “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide, a weekend show in Berlin.” Notes on Looking, August, 2013.
Wagley, Catherine, “Five Artsy Things to Do in LA this Week, LA Weekly Blogs, Wednesday June 5, 2013.
Levin, Jordan “Cannonball Miami brings L.A. artists to create work and make waves,” The Miami Herald,
2012 Wagley, Catherine, “Ten Most Memorable LA Art Events, LA Weekly, Blogs and Print, December 19, 2012.
Regan, Sheila, “Krystal Krunch’s Never Been to Me Tour,” City Pages, Wednesday Jan 4, 2012.
Wagley, Catherine, “God and Jesus Christ Work at Circuit City.” LA Weekly Blogs, Friday April 6.
2011 Getnick, Brian, Barr, Zemula, Sullivan, Molly, Native Strategies, catalog .
Wilcha, Christopher, Mark Allen, Machine’s First Film, LACMA
Tuck, Geoff, The body as a site of political struggle, Notes on Looking, notesonlooking.com, March 9, 2011
Cheh, Carol. Human Resources Reopens Performance Art Space. LA Weekly Blogs, May 2, 2011.
2009 Myers, Holly. “Culture Monster Art Review, ‘Until We Come to One that Reminds Us at Monte Vista Projects,’” Los Angeles Times,, August 19, 7pm.
Bowness, Gorden, Video: Aleese Cohene & Loren Hartman, Xtra! Toronto, CAN
2004 Frank, Peter, Irrational Exhibits 3, Hubby IV” LA Weekly, 10/22-28, 2004, p. 158.
Athey, Ron. “Performance Pick of The Week, Mania for Coleslaw: New Hybrid Media Performance,”
LA Weekly, April 30-May 6, 2004, p.90.
2003 Hernandez, Martin, “Flophouse 3: Performance Pick of The Week,” LA Weekly, June 5, 2003.
2002 Athey, Ron. “Hey Lady,” LA Weekly, “Good Times,” Nov. 8-14, 2002, 65
Hernandez, Martin. “Flophouse 2: Performance Pick of The Week,” LA Weekly, June 14-20, 2002: 84.
2001 Ross, Sandra. “Performance Pick of The Week: Fairy,” LA Weekly, August 24-30, 84.
Curatorial works include founding and directing Crazy Space at The 18th Street Arts Center 2005-1999; curating “Defense” 2005 at UC Riverside, “Until We Come to One that Reminds Us, at Monte Vista Projects 2009, “Mania for Coleslaw,” and “Give and Take” at Highways Performance Space, and numerous seasons of durational performance exhibitions at Sea and Space Explorations in Los Angeles, 2007-2003.