Gawdafful National Theater is a loose cabal of highly trained, strongly gifted actor-artists-insects committed to making complex, poetic, crass, and finely crafted theater. Through the rarified magic of "gawdafful" (high class god-awful), we risk confounding, disorienting, and piquing audiences while insisting on intellectual rigor, exploration, and emotional depth. Gawdafful is devoted to the beautiful, the ugly, the out of line, the old and awkward in theater and its traditions while inviting in ideas from performance and intuitive practices. We are interdisciplinary, intergenerational, architecturally minded, sensual beings, with a deep love for expansive performance.
Asher Hartman is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose work centers on the exploration of self through Western histories and ideologies. He is the founder and chief beneficiary of Gawdafful National Theater, a group of artist-actors for whom he has written since 2010. He is also one half of the performative duo Krystal Krunch (with Haruko Tanaka), who teach intuition-building to artists, activists, and interested others. Asher Hartman received his BA in Theater at UCLA and his MFA in Studio Arts at CalArts.
Asher's first work, "Girl of the Bluebells" was presented at Frederick Burke Elementary School in 1964 featuring his former self as the cause of Spring. He was ritually sacrificed by himself and has been seeking vengeance upon himself ever since, with works such as, "Why I Am Still Bardtending for Catatonics?" (circa All Time) and "These Panties are Not, Repeat Not Free" (circa 1976 and back again) and "Too Many Socks" dedicated to his beloved friend and mentor Mark Rucker.
Recent performances and plays include "The Silver, The Black, The Wicked Dance," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); "Mr. Akita" at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, New York; "Purple Electric Play (PEP!)" at Machine Project, Los Angeles; "Glass Bang" at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture's RM Schindler Fitzpatrick-Leland House as part of Machine Project's engagement in "Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A." also with Cannonball in Miami and Southern Exposure in San Francisco (2013). Other recent works include "See What Love The Father Has Given Us," Machine Project, Los Angeles, 2012; "The All Stars of Non-Violet Communication" at Human Resources, LACE, and Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles (2011); "Annie Okay" at The Hammer Museum (with Machine Project, 2010), and "Bad Thing" at Sea and Space Explorations (2010). Performances as Krystal Krunch (with Haruko Tanaka) have been presented with Machine Project at The Hayward Gallery (London), The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburg); Real Art Ways (Hartford), Southern Exposure (San Francisco), Spaces (Cleveland), The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) as well as at Extrapool (Netherlands) and The Vincent Price Art Museum (Los Angeles). Asher's film/video works have been exhibited at MIX/NYC, Migrating Forms (New York), Images (Toronto), Recontres International (Paris/Berlin); The Cultural Center of the Philippines (Manila); Beijing Open Performance (China); The London Underground Film Festival; and The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, among other venues.
In addition to his artistic practice, Asher is a practicing psychic and has been reading for individuals since 2001.
Read more about Asher and his practice in the articles below
"Skin of the Actor, Teeth of the Artist"
By Asher Hartman for The Brooklyn Rail, July 11, 2016
"Asher Hartman with Carol Cheh"
By Carol Cheh for Coronagraph, February 2015
"Watch Famous Gamble House Get A Stunning Psychic Reading"
By Biana Barragan for Curbed LA, October 3, 2014