31 December 2009


Sculptor, performer, and video artist Matthew Barney was born in San Francisco in 1967. He received his B.A. at Yale University, and his early works focused on the interconnectedness of physical athleticism and erotic sexuality. He has since gained acclaim quickly, participating in a number of Venice Biennales and receiving numerous awards, including prizes from the Guggenheim and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Likened by MoMA to Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, Barney's work is intellectually provocative, sensually stimulating, and delightfully risque.

One of his early works, 1995, is a piece called OTTOshaft. The Tate has a really wonderful review of it here.

clip from OTTOshaft

Drawing Restraint is a piece of his that I recently saw at the Whitney's exhibit of Biennial purchases. I saw it in sculpture form, but I find his exhibit of the piece on the internet equally as compelling.

He's done the same interesting display of his work in his Cremasters series. Barney provides written abstracts and trailers of this series of five films. Here's an idea of what you experience when you visit the site:

The Home Page of The Cremaster Cycle

Cremaster 1

Cremaster 2 Synposis

Cremaster 3 Characters

Cremaster 4

Cremaster 5

Here's a clip from Cremaster 3. It features Richard Serra throwing molten Vaseline against the wall, Aimee Mann walking in glass prostheses, a mosh pit, and Matthew Barney swinging around on a wire throughout the levels of the Guggenheim. What's not to love?