Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Support Stupor: Matthew Barney & Drunken Ramblings!

Stupor editor Steve Hughes has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new collaboration with Matthew Barney. Stupor is a magazine featuring, "stories of drunkenness, infidelity, disappointment, and sometimes dumb luck," that Hughes collects from people he meets in bars. Each issue is laid out by a different visual artist.

Steve is soliciting funds to publish a new issue titled Washed In Dirt that will be designed by Matthew Barney (who Steve met when Barney was filming Khu in Detroit). Washed In Dirt will feature 4 stories with a, "connection to cars and the human body and dirt and blood and skin and oil and gas fumes."

A $6 pledge will get you a copy of Matthew Barney's issue of Stupor, higher donations include additional premiums. Click here to support the project.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Djed Book and Michael Leavitt's Art Army

Cremaster Fanatic ventured out for a Chelsea gallery crawl a couple of weeks ago. Of course, out main target was Matthew Barney's Djed exhibition at Gladstone Gallery. We shot some photos, but, to be honest, the official ones are much better -- there's a nice collection the on Juxtapoz web site.

We picked up a copy of a small book published in conjunction with the exhibtion. The book contains an introduction to Ancient Evenings, librettos for Acts I and II (Ren and Sekham), an essay on Egyptian mythology by Angus Cook, and, of course, tons of photos (both film stills and images of the Djed sculptures). As far as we know, this is the most complete information published to date about Barney's new series, Ancient Evenings.

We also managed to catch the final day of Michael Leavitt's Art Army Royalty exhibition at Jonathan Levine Gallery. We previously posted some photos of the Matthew Barney action figure, and it was great to see him in person. Mike was in our traveling exhibition The Matthew Barney Show a few years ago, and we're glad to see he's doing well.

The gallery was also selling a nice book with photos of all of the figures in Leavitt's Art Army. Here's a page showing some details of the Matthew Barney statue (which includes two of the Jacobin pigeons from Cremaster 5).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Brightest Diamond on Acting in Matthew Barney's Khu

Drowned in Sound just posted an essay by performer My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) about her experience acting in Matthew Barney's Khu.

"The audition was like nothing I had ever done. Composer Jonathan Bepler sat with me and a friend of mine from my high school choir who I had dragged along. We sat in a small circle and Jonathan closed his eyes and started breathing exercises. We mimicked him and our heart rates slowed. Jonathan asked us to try different exercises in noise-making, sometimes by singing himself, then having us repeat it or at other times giving us facial expressions that we interpreted. Already I was on the edge of my comfort zone making "ugly" sounds, but it was so fun, improvising and going into the unknown, that I didn't have much time to evaluate what the sounds actually were...

I was assigned a role, a police officer aptly named Lieutenant Worden, who was overseeing a search for a missing body... My character was bossing around an all female opera chorus, which included FBI agents and local officers.

On October 2nd,2010, filming commenced as we began our investigation on the shores of the Rouge River. From the sheriff's boat on the river, we sang call and response yodel-like calls while four other boats filled with saxophones and a percussionist circled. On a barge, as the "dead body" of a car was hoisted from the river by a crane, we sang in horror as we recognized the one we had longed to find. Back on land, a procession of horn players and opera singers wailed cluster chords, walking with Butoh-like slowness, a long march to the funeral of the car. Upon mounds of black soil, the orchestra stood in rows. The temperature began to drop to somewhere around 48 degrees (8.89 celcius). Surrounding five custom build blast furnaces, we sang as percussionist hit trash cans and cymbals whipped down several stories of cable wire, a sound which was amplified over loud speakers. It began to rain, a freezing rain. We waited for over two hours for the weather conditions to be right for twenty-five tons of molten iron to pour from the furnaces into a molded pit. A string player in the row in front of me fainted. The audience was sent away as a safety precaution. Some of the other musicians started leaving voluntarily."

Read the full article here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More on Matthew Barney's Djed

The Cremaster Fanatic staff were called to Los Angeles on business last week, so we haven't had a chance to visit Matthew Barney's Djed at Gladstone Gallery yet. We hope to have some photos for you soon.

In the meantime, Gladstone Gallery has added photographs of the exhibition to their web site. We also recommend Jerry Saltz's review for New York Magazine and Linda Yablonsky's piece for T Magazine for more photographs and back story. If anyone has photos from the opening, please send them to us!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ren Trailer

Cremaster fanatic Mark sent us a link to composer (and frequent Matthew Barney collaborator) Jonathan Bepler's web site, which features a short trailer for Barney's Ren - the first installment in his multi-part opera Ancient Evenings. Click here to watch the trailer.

Matthew Barney's Djed exhibition, featuring sculpture and drawings related to Ancient Evenings, opens at Gladstone Gallery in New York on September 17.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Djed to be Anchored by 25-ton Iron Sculpture

Gladstone Gallery has issued a press release for Matthew Barney's Djed exhibition, opening September 17. The show will consist of drawings and three monumental sculptures made from iron, bronze, lead and copper. The artwork relates to Ancient Evenings, Barney's multi-part site-specific opera based on a Norman Mailer book about a man's journey through the seven stages of the ancient Egyptian afterlife. The exhibition's centerpiece will be a massive sculpture cast from 25 tons of iron during Barney's Khu performance in Detroit last year. This sculpture is based on the undercarriage of a Chrysler Imperial that has been modified to resemble a djed (a pillar-like hieroglyph representing the Egyptian god Osiris' power). First appearing in Cremaster 3, the 1967 Chrysler Imperial is a central element in Barney's Ancient Evenings that is often interpreted as a stand-in for Barney (who was born in 1967). The exhibition continues through October 22.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Matthew Barney Djed at Gladstone Gallery NY Sept. 17

Matthew Barney will exhibit new sculpture related to his Ancient Evenings series at Gladstone Gallery in New York this fall. The exhibtion, titled Djed, runs from September 17 - October 22nd. There is no word about whether the exhibition will include any video or if a performance will be staged in New York to coincide with the show.

According to Wikipedia, "The Djed symbol is a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability. It has been interpreted as the backbone of the Egyptian god Osiris...During the Renewal Festival, the djed would be ceremonially raised as a phallic symbol symbolising the 'potency and duration of the pharaoh's rule'...semen (or more generally spoken - the source of life) was [believed by the Egyptians to be] formed from spinal fluid...[thus] the essence of life starts here in the Ankh - it flows down through the vertebral canal, past the strong base of the spine (the Djed), and out through the penis."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Matthew Barney NOT Hiring "Adult" Actors

A representative from Gladstone Gallery contacted us today, asking us to retract our earlier post about Matthew Barney seeking "adult" actors for a short erotic film to be shot in Detroit next week. Apparently the Craigslist ad was posted by someone unaffiliated with Matthew Barney's studio and has been removed from the web. and the The Observer have some more info, although it seems like we're still not getting the full story.

Anyway, all of you Detroit-area exhibitionists will have to find other employers -- Matthew Barney is apparently not hiring. We apologize if we got your hopes up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cremaster Week on Network Awesome

Next week (July 25 - 29) will be Cremaster Week on Network Awesome. The site will be streaming the five Cremaster films (one each weekday) plus related documentaries and archival footage. This is a great chance to learn more about the symbolism in the Cremaster films. We at are very excited!

Here is the week's schedule:

Monday, July 25 - Cremaster 1 with:

Doc - Video: The New Wave (1973)
WGBH documentary about the beginning of Video Art

Collection: The Goodyear Blimp
Interesting video and interviews about the Goodyear Blimp

Talk Show - Matthew Barney at the Hirshhorn
Interview with the director of the museum about his varied work and inspiration

Doc - Busby Berkeley
Amazing Director/Choreographer whose dazzling set-based dance routines broke many barriers in film.

Tuesday, July 26 - Cremaster 2 with:

Doc - Slayer
1988 documentary about the meanest band on the planet

Collection: The Mormon Tabernacle Organ
Video and interviews about one of the world's largest organs. This collection is actually vastly entertaining.

Doc - The Great American Cowboy (1973)
An extremely arty documentary about 2 rival cowboys. Won the Academy award for best Doc that year.

Talk Show - Norman Mailer
He's always provocative, that guy...

Doc - Gary Gilmore
In-depth documentary about the serial killer with a mystic past.

Wednesday, July 27 - Cremaster 3 with:

Talk Show - Richard Serra
Great walk-through interview with Richard Serra on Charlie Rose.

Doc - N.Y.H.C
Get a mosh-eye view from this 90's documentary about the Hardcore scene. Tons of candid interviews and great concert footage.

Talk Show - Aimee Mullins
Brilliant TED lecture on what it means to be a super-hero + a spot from the Today show.

Collection: The Chrysler Building
Short videos and a documentary about the Chrysler Building's history and media legacy (note: includes Godzilla)

Thursday, July 28 - Cremaster 4 with:

Art: Nam June Paik & Ryuichi Sakamoto - All Star Video (1984)
Super psychedelic video art from two of the innovators. Great version for lo-fi quality

An Evening with Fred Astaire
Made-for-prime-time TV special with the kick of the tap dance and a ton of guest stars.

Collection: Nervous Gender
Extremely edgy synthpunk group from San Francisco in the early 80s. Includes a few live concerts and some baffling music videos.

Talk Show- Matthew Barney
Join Matt on elaborate walk-through of his Guggenheim show.

Collection: The International Isle Of Man Tourist Trophy Race
First person view of the world-record breaking fastest lap around the island plus other fun stuff. Again - more enjoyable than you'd expect.

Friday, July 29 - Cremaster 5 with:

Collection: Ursula Andress
See the Swiss sex symbol in a wide variety of silly Italian films + great ultra-mod interview

Budapest 1936-2008
Archival documentary and supplementary video that show the drastic changes Budapest suffered in the war.

Doc - Dead Men's tales: Harry Houdini
in-depth documentary about Houdini's life and carer. Full of jaw dropping footage.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Matthew Barney Hiring "Adult" Actors In Detroit

Update 7-26-2011:
A representative from Gladstone Gallery has informed us that this ad is not legitimate and has been pulled from craigslist. Matthew Barney is NOT hiring adult actors. More info HERE.

Matthew Barney's studio has posted an (apparently legitimate) advertisement on Craigslist seeking "women, men and couples/groups to act in a 13 minute erotic short." The film will be shot in Detroit from August 5-7, and is part of the Destricted project (which released Barney's Hoist on DVD). "Acting experience, an alternative or retro look, and an exhibitionistic nature are all pluses," the ad continues, before warning, "You will be asked to set your limits."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Matthew Barney Live in LA June 4

Matthew Barney will be speaking at the "Can Art and Politics Be Thought?" conference at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on June 4. Barney will appear in conversation with Drew Daniel of the group Matmos (who have collaborated with Bjork) as part of a symposium starting at 1 pm (it's not clear what time Barney will go on -- there are three other speakers). The program is free: tickets are available on a first come, first served basis at the Billy Wilder Theater Box Office starting at noon (no reserve tickets). More info at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Late Night Cremaster Marathon in Chicago May 24

Chicago-area Cremaster Fanatics can catch a late-night screening of the entire Cremaster Cycle starting at 10 pm on May 24 at Late Bar (3534 Belmont Ave.). We suspect this is an "unauthorized" screening so the quality of the projection may be iffy, but when else will you be able to enjoy a few cocktails while watching the Cremaster Cycle?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Matthew Barney to Speak at College of Idaho Commencement

Matthew Barney, who lived in Boise for more than a decade as a boy (Cremaster Fanatics know that the football stadium sequences in Cremaster 1 were filmed in Boise), will deliver this year's commencement address at The College of Idaho. The college will celebrate commencement at 10 AM on Saturday, May 21, in Morrison Quadrangle at the heart of campus. Tickets are not required and directions can be found at If you are unable to attend in person, you can watch a live feed at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Drawing Restraint 17 Premier

Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 17 had its North American premier yesterday at the San Francisco International Film Festival (Barney was on hand to receive the SFIFF's Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award). The film was shot at the Schaulager museum in Basel, Switzerland (which hosted Barney's 2010 Prayer Sheet With The Wound And The Nail exhibition) and features similar imagery to other films in the Drawing Restraint series. However, unlike the other DR films, it features several split-screen sequences and introduces a female protagonist (played by rock climber Emily Harrington) who scales the modernist architecture of the Scahulager. According to the SFIFF's web site, "Barney portrays an artist supervising the construction of a sculpture made from rotting wood beams, while on the fecund bucolic grounds of the exurban Goetheanum, a blonde woman tills worm-rich soil before embarking on a picturesque tram ride to the museum, where she engages in a dizzying interaction."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Matthew Barney Action Figure by Mike Leavitt

Artist Mike Leavitt has just released an action figure of Matthew Barney (sort of an amalgam of several of Barney's characters from the Drawing Restraint and Cremaster series, it includes two Jacobin Pigeons from Cremaster 5 as accessories) as the latest addition to his Art Army series. The figure is available from Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City, where it will be exhibited in an upcoming show. We're not sure of the price for the Barney figurine, but others in the series sell from $900 - $1200.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Matthew Barney to Premier Drawing Restraint 17 and Receive POV Award in San Francisco

Matthew Barney will receive the Persistance of Vision Award at the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival. The Persistance of Vision Award is given yearly to a filmmaker who works outside of traditional narrative filmmaking. Previous recipients include Errol Morris, Guy Maddin, and Kenneth Anger.

Barney will receive the award at the North American premier of Drawing Restraint 17 at 5 pm on Saturday, April 30 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. The award will be presented by critic and curator Glen Helfand, who will also interview Barney before the audience. Admission to the interview and screening is $25. For more information and to purchase tickets visit

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Matthew Barney's Whaler Recalled to Port

The New York Times reports that the Nisshen Maru (aka the Nisshin Maru), which Matthew Barney fans will remember as the setting for much of Barney's Drawing Restraint 9 has been recalled to port after repeated harassment from anti-whaling organizations.

"The [Japanese agriculture] ministry said the group [Sea Shepherd] had harassed the Japanese ships by shining laser beams to temporarily blind crew members and throwing flares onto the whaling vessels. Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano told reporters on Friday that the decision to recall the fleet was made to ensure the safety of the crews and ships. The ministry said its whaling fleet had often been able to simply outrun the environmentalists. It could not do so this year because Sea Shepherd had faster vessels, the government said."

The Times goes on to note that the, "demand for whale meat is declining. Few Japanese eat whale anymore, and the meat from the hunt has piled up in freezers, or been given to children for school lunches."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Creminem Mash-Up

Video mash-up of Eminem's Super Bowl ad for Chrysler with the trailer for Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle. Of course, Chrysler Imperials (and the Chrylser Building) play important roles in Cremaster 3, but we can't help wishing they used clips from the Khu video.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Matthew Barney Performances in New York City?

In a recent article, 032c magazine reports that the next segments of Matthew Barney's Ancient Evenings series will be performed in New York City. "After the upcoming Detroit KHU premiere, Barney plans on doing a series of performances in New York City that would encompass the next few of acts of the opera, bringing his latest project back to his old creative stomping grounds." We'll keep you posted as we receive more information!