Matthew Barney
American artist and filmmaker
Matthew Barney
Matthew Barney is an American artist who works in sculpture, photography, drawing and film. His early works are sculptural installations combined with performance and video. Between 1994 and 2002 he created the CREMASTER Cycle, a series of five films described by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian as "one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema."
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200 Artists From Around The World Launch Initiative To Fight Fascism Through Art
Huffington Post - 10 days
For HuffPost’s #LoveTakesAction series, we’re telling stories of how people are standing up to hate and supporting those most threatened. What will you stand up for? Tell us with #LoveTakesAction. Anish Kapoor, Steve McQueen, Laurie Anderson, Ed Ruscha, Matthew Barney, Rosalind Krauss, Hank Willis Thomas, Catherine Opie and Yinka Shonibare are among the artists, writers, musicians and curators from around the world committed to using art as a mode of resistance. Over 200 international creatives have signed on to the global art coalition “Hands Off Our Revolution,” which implores artists of all media to channel the anger, sadness, hope and empathy ignited by present affairs into their work, providing viewers, readers and listeners with models of revolt and visions of a harmonious, peaceful future. The initiative came together in response to recent events ― including Brexit, President Donald Trump’s election and the ongoing refugee crisis. As artist Adam Broomberg explained to ...
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Huffington Post article
2 Lessons Learned From My Selfie Obsession
Huffington Post - 2 months
That one time I was an unpaid intern at Santa's artisanal workshop for classic menswear That one time I ran off to class at a New England prep school That one time I watched the season premiere of the walking dead That one time I was on the fence That one time I couldn't make up my mind That one time I got lost on the way to Whole Foods For the past two and a half years, I have been posting a series of surreal animated selfies to my instagram account, accompanied by an overly contrived caption. When working on a long-term project with a very specific focus, there are so many interesting ideas about art theory and the creative process that you start being aware of. The first is from an interview with the painter Chuck Close, who believes that the more you work the more you find inspiration. His theory is that waiting for inspiration is not as effective as doing manual work like painting, because your mind begins to come up with ideas through your sub-cons ...
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Huffington Post article
Back to School for the Art World: 6 Must-See Exhibitions in Chelsea
Huffington Post - 6 months
On Thursday, September 8th, 2016, galleries in Chelsea unveiled their new exhibitions for the early fall season. There was anticipation and excitement in the air as NY art enthusiasts bobbed and weaved from one gallery to another, trying to absorb as many works as possible between the fleeting hours of 6pm and 8pm. If you are still planning your gallery-hopping trip in Chelsea, check out Arthena's list of 6 must-see exhibitions: Rashid Johnson: Fly Away Hauser & Wirth 511 West 18th Street Hauser & Wirth celebrates new work by Rashid Johnson in the exhibition 'Fly Away', in which he engages with the gallery's huge space to investigate the relationship between history, escape, art, society, and personal identity. The gallery takes advantage of its soaring architecture to present museum-caliber exhibitions, so be sure to check out 'Antoine's Organ', the lofty architectural grid sculpture filled with objects that range from live plants to video screens to mounds of s ...
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Huffington Post article
Religion vs. Secularism In Art and How Shahzia Sikander and Jim Shaw Turn Social Alienation Into Spiritual Engagement
Huffington Post - about 1 year
A Chemical Christmas to All! seems to be the message of Shahzia Sikander's scathing Oil and Gas Pipeline Christmas Tree and Jim Shaw's Angel of the Chemical Plant. When we stop trying to define the truth for others we can begin to appreciate to what extent the society we inhabit is an ongoing negotiation between the secular and the religious. The social contract keeping the peace between us proves only as tolerant as the quid pro quo that guarantees its citizens' mutual survival. In many senses this quid pro quo, as variable, even erratic, as it may prove to be with the passage of new laws and the election of new representatives, is as important to the climate of peace and prosperity of the society as the national constitution and laws guaranteeing religious freedom in modern democratic states. Yet in essence only two primary principles have to be agreed to. That the religious must recognize and respect the autonomy of the individual. And that the secular must refrain from i ...
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Huffington Post article
Review: In ‘River of Fundament,’ Matthew Barney Contemplates Waste
NYTimes - about 1 year
This new work by Mr. Barney includes macabre scenes of filth and sex.
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NYTimes article
Apparently, The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Norman Mailer Was A Picasso-Inspired Artist
Huffington Post - over 2 years
We thought Norman Mailer's greatest connection to the art world was the fact that his 1983 novel "Ancient Evenings" was loosely adapted into a five-and-a-half-hour-long Matthew Barney film. But it turns out Mailer himself had an eye for fine art, particularly the squiggly, confident lines of a certain Pablo Picasso. Open Face, 1985 The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author did more than just ogle Picasso's drawings, he replicated them. And he wasn't bad. His doodles of faces in various stages of abstraction, along with the occasional nude body, recall Picasso's brusque nerve and sense of humor. And, especially coming from someone who Joyce Carol Oates called a "maximalist," they're quite sparse. J. Michael Lennon described Mailer as "in varying combinations, a world-class drinker, feuder, provocateur, self-mythologizer and anti-feminist. He was a war protester, a mayoral candidate, a co-founder of The Village Voice, as well as a wife stabber, a serial husband (of six wives) ...
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ArtsBeat: Matthew Barney Film in the Lineup at Australia Arts Festival
NYTimes - over 3 years
Isabella Rossellini, John Zorn and Matthew Barney are among the artists on the program at the 2014 Adelaide Festival.     
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NYTimes article
Breaking the Frame: A Cinematic Immersion Into The Art and Life of Carolee Schneemann at the 51st New York Film Festival
Huffington Post - over 3 years
On Sunday, October 6th, 2013, at 2:30 p.m., The 51st New York Film Festival presents the New York City premiere of Breaking the Frame, a lyrical film testament of the life and art of Carolee Schneemann, by Polish-Canadian filmmaker, Marielle Nitoslawska. The film is presented as part of the series, Views from The Avant Garde, at The Francesca Beale Theater, part of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, 144 W. 65th Street, New York, NY. For further information, please consult the New York Film Festival website. It is questionable whether even Sigmund Freud has received a cinematic treatment as evocative of his impact on the culture around him as Carolee Schneemann has received from Marielle Nitoslawska's film, Breaking the Frame. But then Freud and most other biographical subjects haven't had the good fortune of having their every waking step imprinted as persistently--and as presciently--as Nitoslawska recorded Schneemann for what came to accumulate lovingly into ...
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Huffington Post article
Stalled in the Mirror Stage: Why the Jack Goldstein and Gretchen Bender Shows Leave Us Seeing Largely the Retro In Their Retrospectives
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Jack Goldstein × 10,000, the first American retrospective of Pictures artist Jack Goldstein (1945 - 2003) was held this summer at The Jewish Museum in New York, from May 10 - September 29, 2013. See more at The Jewish Museum website. Gretchen Bender: Tracking the Thrill, presented key multichannel video installations and single-channel video screenings by Gretchen Bender (1951-2004) from August 27 - October 5, 2013. See more at The Kitchen website. The confluence in New York this summer of two exhibitions by Pictures Artists, Jack Goldstein at The Jewish Museum and Gretchen Bender at The Kitchen, supplied the more theoretically-minded art cognoscenti an art historical quandary to ponder. Does the neglect of Goldstein and Bender as artists over the last two-to-three decades tell us something more comprehensive about the Pictures Generation as whole? Did the Pictures Artists, perhaps, by virtue of serving as a reflexive bridge between the art world and the media mainstream, only se ...
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Huffington Post article
Zach Udko: Inhotim: Brazil's Contemporary Art Wonderland
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking beauty of Inhotim, Brazil's best-kept secret for lovers of contemporary art. Nestled in the remote southeastern town of Brumadinho (a 90-minute drive from the city of Belo Horizonte), Inhotim (pronounced IN-YO-TCHEEN) offers visitors a full-sensory unparalleled aesthetic experience. A sprawling 5000 acres of lush botanical gardens (designed by Brazilian landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx) house approximately 500 works by 100 artists from 30 countries in over two dozen gallery pavilions. Arguably the finest outdoor contemporary art center in the world, Inhotim also boasts the world's largest collection of palm trees (over 1500 different species); 4500 different exotic species of plants; gourmet restaurants; and works by the likes of Matthew Barney, Chris Burden, Janet Cardiff and George Miller, Anish Kapoor, and Brazilian superstar Tunga. The brainchild of local mining billionaire Bernardo Paz, Inhotim transformed from hi ...
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Huffington Post article
Two Towers And A 'Ghost Ship' Will Dangle Off This NYC Museum
Huffington Post - over 3 years
In 1971 artist Chris Burden was shot in the arm with a .22 rifle by a friend and the minimal, haunting footage of the event radically revolutionized performance art forever. "Burden, with his shockingly simple, unforgettable, 'here and now' performances shook the conventional art world and took this new art form to its extreme," a spokeswoman for Gagosian Gallery told The Art Newspaper. Obsessed with limits both physical and emotional, Burden continued to test the boundaries of himself and his audience throughout his surprising and piercing career. A retrospective of Burden's hard to swallow but easy to enjoy artworks are taking over the New Museum, occupying all five floors of the contemporary art space. Over forty years are represented through a medley of media, as Burden explores the mechanics and aesthetics of crossing the line, whether testing the limits of his own endurance or an institution's propriety. For the work above, 1974's "Trans-Fixed," Burden str ...
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Huffington Post article
Michael Vazquez: Film: Pacific Rim, Blue Jasmine and Oscar Category Notes
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Walking through Times Square in the kind, mellow rain after what I'm guessing will be Oscar-nominated films, reminded me of why I love my hometown so much. Reviews of Blue Jasmine are embargoed, so here's one review, and two Oscar guesses. Of course, Oscar predictions are a silly (though sadly, because of the dough-re-mi, actually very serious) business. Thankfully, unlike the tyranny of public opinion polls, they don't become self-fulfilling prophecies nearly as easily, and this is a good thing for pop-culture cinema, though sad for politics and civic participation. Simply put, if only public opinion regarding matters of politics and civics were as un-malleable as public opinions on films; perhaps when the stakes become as high as the cost of a movie ticket. All the panning critics in the world aren't going to sway audiences' appreciation of Man of Steel, and that's a good thing. I really liked Man of Steel, and while I thought -- keeping in mind that the semiotics of b ...
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Huffington Post article
The Apex unveils new classical music programme
Bury Free Press - over 3 years
The Apex has unveiled its latest classical music programme which features the only early music group in the world to have been compared to the Rolling Stones. Red Priest, pictured, will take to the stage at the Bury St Edmunds venue on March 26. Other upcoming acts include the Sacconi String Quartet on October 18, Aurora Orchestra on November 15, Co-Opera Co on November 22 and the Academy of Ancient Music on February 23. On April 5, the City of London Sinfonia return with cellist Matthew Barley.
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Bury Free Press article
Why Everybody Loves Matthew Barney
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
"There is a space between the physical and the metaphysical," Matthew Barney said, his tall frame leaning forward as his voice lowered. "The stage. The performance." Jori Klein/The New York Public Library On Tuesday night, Barney attracted a full crowd for his conversation with Paul Holdengräber at the New York Public Library. Holdengräber began the discussion with a choice John Ashbery quote: "The worse your art is, the easier it is to talk about." The excruciating awkwardness that ensued in the stunted dialogue only reaffirmed that Barney's world resists easy description. The contentious artist's life path is not the typical narrative -- he played football at Yale, toyed with the prospect of being a surgeon, then found art superstardom at the tender age of 24. Barney's art illuminates the visceral physicality that unites these fields. In his films, drawings and sculptures he explores the wonders of the body and the imagination, toying with the semi-permeable mem ...
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Matthew Barney
  • 2015
    Age 47
    In 2015, Barney exhibited "Matthew Barney: River of Fundament" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, his largest filmic project since the Cremaster Cycle and first major museum solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details Barney's work has provoked strong critical reaction, both positive and negative. Barney's work has been compared to such canonical performance artists as Chris Burden and Vito Acconci and arguing that his art is simultaneously a critique and a celebration of commercialism and blockbuster filmmaking. Commenting on the Cremaster series' enigmatic nature, Alexandra Keller and Frazer Ward write: "Rather than reading Cremaster, we are encouraged to consume it as high-end eye candy, whose symbolic system is available to us but hardly necessary to our pleasure: meaning, that is, is no longer a necessary component to art production or reception. Left to its own devices-and it is all devices, Cremaster places us in a framework of mutually assured consumption, consuming us as we consume it." The philosopher Arthur C. Danto, well known for his work on aesthetics, has praised Barney's work, noting the importance of Barney's use of sign systems such as Masonic mythology.
  • 2013
    Age 45
    In 2013, the Morgan Library & Museum mounted “Subliming Vessel: The Drawings of Matthew Barney”, the first museum retrospective devoted to the artist’s drawings, later traveling to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.
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    As of September 2013, Barney and Björk are no longer a couple; Björk chronicles the breakup in her 2015 album Vulnicura.
    More Details Hide Details Barney maintains a studio in Long Island City, Queens. The ongoing Drawing Restraint series began in 1987 as a series of studio experiments, drawing upon an athletic model of development in which growth occurs only through restraint: the muscle encounters resistance, becomes engorged and is broken down, and in healing becomes stronger. In literally restraining the body while attempting to make a drawing, Drawing Restraint 1–6 (1987–89) were documentations made using video and photography. Drawing Restraint 7 marks the influx of narrative and characterization, resulting in a three channel video and a series of drawings and photographs, for which Barney was awarded the Aperto Prize in the 1993 Venice Biennale. A series of ten vitrines containing drawings, Drawing Restraint 8 was included in the 2003 Venice Biennale and prefigured the narrative development for Drawing Restraint 9 (2005). A major project consisting of a feature-length film and soundtrack composed by Björk, large-scale sculptures, photographs and drawings, Drawing Restraint 9 was built upon themes such as the Shinto religion, the tea ceremony, the history of whaling, and the supplantation of blubber with refined petroleum for oil. A full-scale survey of Barney's work through Drawing Restraint 9 was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2006 and included over 150 objects of varying media. Drawing Restraint 10 – 16 (2005–07) are site-specific performances that recall the earlier Yale pieces.
  • 2005
    Age 37
    A large-scale exhibition of the entire “Drawing Restraint” series was organized by the 21st Century Museum for Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, in 2005 and traveled to Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Serpentine Gallery, London; and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna.
    More Details Hide Details Barney has also had major solo exhibitions organized by Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (2003), Living Art Museum in Reykjavik (2003), Sammlung Goetz in Munich (2007), and Fondazione Merz in Turin (2008). His work has been included in major group exhibitions including "Moving Pictures" at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and Guggenheim Bilbao (2002), Venice Biennale (2003), "Quartet: Barney, Gober, Levine, Walker" at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2005), Biennial of Moving Images at Centre pour l’Image Contemporaine in Paris (2005), and "All in the Present Must Be Transformed: Matthew Barney and Joseph Beuys" at Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin (2006).
  • 1995
    Age 27
    The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, organized a solo exhibition of his work that toured Europe throughout 1995 and 1996.
    More Details Hide Details Barney was subsequently included in many international exhibitions, such as documenta 9 in Kassel (1992); the 1993 and 1995 Biennial exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Aperto ’93 at the 48th Venice Biennale, for which he was awarded the Europa 2000 Prize. For the season 2000/2001 in the Vienna State Opera Matthew Barney designed a large scale picture (176 sqm) as part of the exhibition series "Safety Curtain", conceived by museum in progress. "Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle", an exhibition of artwork from the entire cycle organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, premiered at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, in June 2002 and subsequently traveled to the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
  • 1990
    Age 22
    Following his inclusion in various group shows at Althea Viafora gallery in New York in 1990, Barney's solo debut in 1991 at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery was hailed by the New York Times as "an extraordinary first show".
    More Details Hide Details That same year, at the age of twenty-four, he was honored with a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  • 1989
    Age 21
    In 1989, he graduated from Yale.
    More Details Hide Details His earliest works, created at Yale, were staged at the university’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. In the 1990s Barney moved to New York, where he worked as a catalog model, a career that helped him finance his early work as an artist. In 2002, Barney had a daughter with his then partner, the singer Björk, with whom he lived in a penthouse co-op in Brooklyn Heights.
  • 1985
    Age 17
    Barney was recruited by Yale University in 1985 to play football and planned to go into pre-med, but he also intended to study art.
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  • 1973
    Age 5
    He lived in Boise, Idaho from 1973 to 1985, where his father got a job administering a catering service at Boise State University and where he attended elementary, middle, and high school.
    More Details Hide Details His parents divorced and his mother, an abstract painter, moved to New York City, where he would frequently visit. It was there where he was first introduced to the art scene.
  • 1967
    Matthew Barney was born March 25, 1967, as the younger of two children in San Francisco, California, where he lived until he was 7.
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