Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy New Year: More Matthew Barney Top 10's

Matthew Barney is all over Artforum's annual "Best Of" issue, starting with an image from Guardian of the Veil on the cover (circled in red above).

The next mention of Barney's work is in David Byrne's top 10 list of the best music of 2007. Byrne lists Jonathan Bepler's score for Barney's De Lama Lamina as #7 (even though the video was released in 2004, apparently Byrne didn't see it until 2007). Byrne writes, "Bepler realized the common but challenging ambition of making ordinary sounds, speech, and environmental noises into music."

Barney receives two mentions in "The Artists' Artists" section, where Artforum asked a group of artists to list their favorite exhibitions of 2007. Tatzu Nishu selects All in the Present Must Be Transformed: Matthew Barney and Joseph Beus at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, "An amazing show that illuminated the commonalities between two artists of seemingly different styles and generations. Not merely the best exhibition of 2007 but the best I've seen in three years. I hope curators will emulate this approach, rather than recycle the same old themes. Be fresh, have a new point of view." Keith Tyson chooses Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint at the Serpentine Gallery, London, "Bizarre props, tales of athletic endurance, and esoteric mythologies filled the building in Hyde Park to bursting. Like some nineteenth-century explorer returning from his adventures in exotic lands, the biomythical Barney is living his dream -- that of an interdisciplinary systems analyst with an expanded sense of potential for drawing, sculpture, and human identity."

Finally, professor and critic Claire Bishop places "Matthew Barney's bull in Il Tempo del Postino" at the Opera House, Manchester, UK in her top 10. "At the end of an evening of otherwise patchy performance art by seventeen international artists, Barney, with a dog on his head, took command of the theater. Halfway through the enigmatic proceedings, a mythologically proportioned bull was led onto the stage and encouraged to enjoy sexual congress with a sculptural appendage fixed to the back of a Cadillac. The garlanded, golden-horned beast failed to rise to the occaision -- despite the presence of contortionists, balaclava-clad trumpeters, and ample quantities of Vaseline. I was left feeling ritually contaminated. Utterly inexplicable."

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