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."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

(Art) Star-Studded Opening for Cremaster Fanatic Installation at Sara Tecchia Editor Paul Laster, Saatchi Online Berlin Correspondent Alix Rule, Curator Ana Finel Honigman, and New York Magazine Senior Art Critic Jerry Saltz

"And, Who Are You?" Curator Ana Finel Honigman and Founder Eric Doeringer

The Crowd at the Opening for "And, Who Are You?"

"And, Who Are You?" Artists William Lemon III (left) and Bill Durgin (center, buried) at the Afterparty

More Styrofoam Fun at the Afterparty, Hosted by Terence Koh

You know it was a good party when you wake up the next morning slightly hung over and covered in styrofoam...

Despite the cold weather, there was a huge turnout for the opening of "And, Who Are You?", an exhibition of artists from Saatchi Online that features a Matthew Barney installation by founder Eric Doeringer. If you missed the opening, the exhibition continues through January 26 at Sara Tecchia Roma New York, 529 W 20th Street, 2nd Floor, New York City.

"And, Who Are You?" is curated by Saatchi Online's Ana Finel Honigman and features art by Jay Batlle, Dilettante Films, Eric Doeringer, Bill Durgin, Fame Theory, Nora Klumpp, William Lemon III, Miranda Maher, Airyka Rockefeller, Eva Roovers, and Sara White Wilson. More photos from the opening are posted on Phillips Art Expert and James Kalm shot some video footage (Matthew Barney installation appears around 7:12).

Possibly even more fun than the opening was the afterparty, hosted by artist Terrance Koh. A killer band played in the basement (didn't catch their name -- if anyone knows please leave a comment) while upstairs guests frolicked in Koh's room-sized installation of styrofoam peanuts. Probably the best party we've ever been to in New York!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Matthew Barney Guardian of the Veil at Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Matthew Barney, "Guardian of the Veil: Norman Mailer", 2007.

Matthew Barney, "Guardian of the Veil: Sons of Horus", 2007.

Matthew Barney, "Guardian of the Veil: The Adoration of Norman Mailer", 2007.

Matthew Barney, "Guardian of the Veil: Trans Am", 2007.

Matthew Barney is exhibiting a series of drawings from Guardian of the Veil (finally, an end to the confusion over whether the correct title is "Guardian" or "Guarding") and some photographs from Cremaster 3 at Regen Projects, 633 North Almont Drive, Los Angeles, CA, through January 19.

From the gallery's press release:

"Guardian of the Veil is the first in a series of performances Barney gave in his studio (Queens, NY) in April 2007 and then repeated in the Il Tempo del Postino exhibition in Manchester, England in July 2007. In this performance Barney used remnants from the Cremaster Cycle (principally Cremaster 3) combined with a new narrative based on elements from Norman Mailer's novel, Ancient Evenings. The Cremaster Cycle examines and follows a developing life from its inception to its inevitable end. In the Guardian of the Veil the narrative follows a protagonist who died in a fire and begins his journey through the seven stages of death toward eternal after-life. This examination of eternal life is in opposition to the trajectory of the Cremaster Cycle and sets up the conflict presented in Guardian of the Veil.

Drawn on black paper using graphite and petroleum jelly the drawings from Guardian of the Veil convey Barney's inimitable, almost surrealistic hand. As a vehicle for the narrative, the fantastical and exuberant drawings function as a story-telling device. In one drawing a decorated bull is seen mounting a Chrysler Imperial car buried in an Egyptian pyramid, seemingly its final resting place. Pictorially conflicting imagery of eternal life after death and the creation of life leading to its ultimate demise is apparent and at odds."

Back on the East Coast, Barney also has a piece in the Mask exhibition at James Cohan Gallery, 533 W 26th Street, NYC, through January 26 (which, of course, is only six blocks from's Matthew Barney installation at Sara Tecchia Roma New York, 529 W 20th St, 2nd Floor).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Matthew Barney Awarded "Best Show of 2007" by Critic Jerry Saltz

New York Magazine's senior art critic Jerry Saltz named Matthew Barney's Guarding of the Veil performance the "Best Show" of 2007. Saltz writes:

"On a Sunday afternoon in April, in a raw ground-floor cold-water loft 20 feet from the East River, Matthew Barney staged an extraordinary performance. A spellbound crowd watched him walk around slowly with a dog on his head; two half-naked women bent over backward in order to urinate in an arc, a marching band wore terrorist masks; a huge bull attempted to mate with a 1967 Chrysler. What made all this so great, in addition to Barney’s relentless attempt to plumb his own inner cathedral, was how homemade and speculative the whole thing was. There were more art-student types there than art-world A-listers. Most important, it wasn’t an overproduced glamour event full of celebrities -- just an artist trying to figure something out in front of a grateful audience."

Read the rest of Jerry Saltz's Top 10 List at

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cremaster Fanatic Matthew Barney Exhibition at Sara Tecchia New York Opening Dec. 18

First off, we apologize for going so long without posting. This has been a hectic month, we hope to do better in the new year. founder Eric Doeringer has created an installation of Matthew Barney photographs, collectibles, and fan art for the exhibition "And, Who Are You?" at Sara Tecchia, 529 West 20th Street, 2nd Floor, New York City. The exhibition runs from December 18 - January 26. We hope you will join us at the opening reception from 6 - 8 on December 18.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Budapest Field Emblem

Cremaster fanatic Karsten sent us this field emblem found in a church floor in Budapest (is it a coincidence that Budapest was the setting for Cremaster 5?). For more found field emblems, visit

As always, please email us any field emblems or other Matthew Barney-related information you come across.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bjork and Matthew Barney Shopping for Manhattan Condo

New York real estate blog reports that Matthew Barney and Bjork were recently outbid on a penthouse loft in Manhattan's new Machinery Exchange at the corner of Baxer and Hester Streets in Chinatown / Little Italy. According to the building's web site, the penthouse apartment was being offered for $4.5 million -- no word on the final sale price.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cremaster 2 Fetches Half a Million Dollars

Matthew Barney's Cremaster 2 sold for $571,000 at the Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale on November 14, slightly over the low estimate of $500,000 - $700,000. For that price, the winning bidder received not only a DVD of the film, but also a hi-tech vitrine and packaging made from hand tooled saddle leather and sterling silver (photos at

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Matthew Barney Halloween Costume

Cremaster fanatic Taryn sent us these photos of herself (she's the one in the swan dress) and friend Suzanne dressed up as Matthew Barney and Bjork at the Cal Arts Halloween Party. Looks like a fun party!

To see more Matthew Barney costumes, visit If you have photos of yourself (or a friend) dressed as Matthew Barney, please email them to us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cremaster 2 On Sale at Sotheby's New York

Here's a rare chance to own one of Matthew Barney's Cremaster films. Sotheby's will be auctioning Barney's Cremaster 2 in their evening sale on November 14 in New York. The winning bidder will receive not only a DVD of the film, but also a custom vitrine and DVD case made from hand-tooled saddle leather, sterling silver, polycarbonate honeycomb, beeswax, acrylic and nutmeg. Sotheby's estimates the artwork will sell for $500,000—700,000.

Matthew Barney in W Magazine

The current issue of W Magazine (subtitled The Art Issue) has a photo essay by curator Neville Wakefield documenting a five-month transatlantic ocean voyage he, Matthew Barney, and a four-man crew made last winter (Yes, that's Matthew puking his guts out above) from Gibralter to New York City.

Wakefield writes, "Setting sail from Gibralter we passed through the straights and, taking advantage of prevailing winds, headed in a southwesterly direction via the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands before crossing to Barbados and ultimately on to New York. In the unfamiliar conditions of constant instability, the simplest tasks became problematic and facilities taken for granted are taken away. These experiences were common to all. But it was in a series of actions and drawings made by Matthew along the way that they found their most vivid realization."

The article reproduces a number of the drawings Barney made on the trip, including some drawn using fish and others made while encumbered by various restraints. I've posted some of the best photos of Barney from the magazine, others are online at

Monday, October 15, 2007

Matthew Barney Interpretive Content Study: "Waste of Brain Cells" vs. "A Great Experience"

Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint exhibtion at the SFMOMA was largely devoid of explanatory wall texts. However, visitors wishing to learn more about the symbolism in Barney's work could access a broad spectrum of information in the multimedia "Learning Lounge" attached to the exhibtion or listen to an audio guide on their cell phone or ipod (or rent the museum's audio guide for $3).

Randi Korn & Associates produced a detailed evaluation of museum-goers' use of interpretive media at Barney's exhibition, which is presented online in the paper Gaining Traction in the Vaseline: Visitor Response to a Multi-Track Interpretation Design for Matthew Barney: DRAWING RESTRAINT.

The graph above, "shows the discrepancy between those arriving in the galleries already familiar with Barney and his work and those who have had no prior exposure; furthermore, it tracks members of these two groups as they use more and more interpretive offerings. Let’s call them initiates and non-initiates, with full cognizance of the ‘art world insider’ implications of those terms. Non-initiates who did not avail themselves of any resources left the show feeling ripped off. They rated it 2.6 out of 7, and their comments were on the order of, “Don’t go,” “”Don’t bother,” “Waste of brain cells,” and “It’s good for the loony people who like things that look like garbage on a polished wood floor.” But as soon as they used even one or two resources, their rating of the exhibition as a whole rose significantly, to an attitudinally neutral 4. They saw that something intelligent was going on that they could respect, even if they didn’t fully get it or connect. Their comments were more on the order of, “Due to lack of comprehension/ meaning/purpose of the work I was a little lost” or “I haven’t listened to the audio tour yet so I don’t really feel I get it all but I know that if I put effort into it, it would become more meaningful.” There is the sense of a cosmos in these remarks, of something to understand.

As these uninitiated visitors used three or four resources, they got initiated. A cognitive psychologist would say they got scaffolding. That doesn’t mean they came away liking everything they saw, but their exhibition rating rose commensurately, to 4.6. By the time they used five-plus resources, they were immersed in Barney’s mythic world, and rated the exhibition at 5.4, a level of stimulated satisfaction. They made comments like: “A great experience to learn more about the artist” and “Do the free cell phone tour – it gives good context and you get to hear from the artist.” The net gain with interpretive offerings was from 2.6 to 5.4 – more than doubling of the rating, and more importantly, an index of real engagement. (Of course with Barney fans, the gain is smaller – from 5.6 to 6.1 – but the numbers who use multiple offerings are significant.)"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Matthew Barney: The Early Years

Gallerist Althea Viafora-Kress recently sent us a link to this wonderful web page documenting Barney's work in two group shows held at her gallery in 1990. Barney had just graduated from Yale and was recommended to the gallery by David von Schlegal, the head of Yale’s MFA sculpture department. The gallery's web site has some very interesting documentation of these shows -- here are a few choice items (you may need to click through the image links to view at full size if you want to read them):

First is the original consignment form for Drawing Restraint II (documents) in the Group Drawing Exhibition. You could have bought Barney's piece for only $2,000!!!

Here is Roberta Smith's New York Times review of the exhibtion -- probably the first published review of Barney's work.

These are notes taken by gallery staff on the day Barney installed Field Dressing (orifill): Docu/fragments in his second exhibition at the gallery in 1990. Below are two pages of notes on hypertrophy given to the gallery by Barney before the exhibition of Drawing Restraint II

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Martin Sastre at Momenta Art, Brooklyn

Madrid-based, Uruguyan-born artist Martin Sastre will be showing two new videos involving Matthew Barney at Momenta Art in Brooklyn, NY, from October 12 - November 12.

The first video, Bolivia 3: Confederation Next, is a science fiction adventure set in the year 2876 when South America has united and the United States no longer exists. Sastre portrays an underdog hero battling an evil empire embodied by Matthew Barney. The other video is an invitation from Sastre's grandmother to Matthew Barney and Björk to spend a traditional Uruguayan Christmas with her and her 6 children and 13 grandchildren. This video will be posted on YouTube as an open letter to Mr. and Mrs. Barney.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Eric Doeringer - IPO at the Whitney Museum Friday 9.28 founder Eric Doeringer will be speaking about his work, including and The Matthew Barney Show, at the Whitney Museum in New York at 7 pm on Friday, September 28. Eric will be joined by William Powhida, Filip Noterdaeme, Carrie McLaren, and hostess Lisa Levy.

Admission to the Whitney is pay-what-you-wish starting at 6:00 and the first 200 attendees will receive a signed limited-edition print by Eric Doeringer. Reserve tickets at

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Matthew Barney at Sadie Coles HQ

In addition to the Drawing Restraint exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, Londoners will be able to view a Matthew Barney exhibition at the new Sadie Coles Gallery (designed by Douglas Stewart Architects) at 69 South Audley Street. Although for some reason there is no mention of the exhibition on the Sadie Coles web site, other reputable sources report the exhibition will run from September 29 - November 10.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Drawing Restraint at the Serpentine Gallery

We've started receiving reports on the Serpentine Gallery's Drawing Restraint exhibition, including a number of people who ran into Matthew Barney at the exhibition or elsewhere in London. The Serpentine has a "No Photography" policy for the exhibition, but we've been promised a few clandestine photos.

Cremaster Fanatic Andrew sent us some photographs of the Drawing Restraint Volume V book and the following report:

"As you enter the gallery there is a bank of 8 screens showing various drawing restraints and when you move in to the second room there are the vitrines shown in Drawing restraint Volume 1. IN the first of the large rooms is the Ambergris scultpture which is connected via a long white rope to "holographic entrypoint" in a room on the opposite side of the gallery. In the central atrium he performed a drawing restraint where he climbed the four corners of the gallery to draw on the ceiling. He was supposed to do a fifth climb but it couldn't be completed, he described the work as "a beautiful failure". The exhibition catalogue is about 230 pages and is similar in format to Vols 1-3. It spans the whole Drawing restraint series 1-15 and includes a number of previously unseen images. I've attached some photos (sorry about the quality i only had my phone to hand). The limited edition portfolio is beautiful. The eight images are mounted on paper that is signed, numbered and embossed with the field emblem. They are all housed in a huge white self lubricating resin box. Each box has been individually customised by Matthew with a series of scratches/scores and gouges. In total it weighs apporximately 16.5 kilos!

I also went to the film screening last night where he also did a Q&A session afterwards. The films were great and the Q&A session was interesting. I asked him about how Guardian of the Veil (which is what he called it last night so it appears to be the correct title) and how it related to the cremaster films and he said that Guardian fo the veil is hopefully the start of a longer project where he will depict the seven levels of the descent to death (based on a book he read, the name of which completely escapes me at the moment) and that this first one was meant to be a funeral for the cremaster series. He also said that this new series of work will be live pieces done in real time, i hope they get filmed for a showing though! Aftwerwards he was happy to stay around and talk to everyone and he was incredibly friendly and chatty."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Serpentine Gallery Reviews and Interviews

The British press has run a number of articles about Matthew Barney's work to coincide with yesterday's opening of his exhibtion at the Serpentine Gallery.

For some reason, both articles in The Guardian refer to Barney (somewhat derisively) as "the American Damien Hirst." Jonathan Jones's review of the exhibition is fairly negative:

"Barney is only really famous among curators, critics and other artists. The most pop-cultural thing about him is being the boyfriend of the Icelandic singer Björk...[The sculptures at the Serpentine Gallery] relate to Drawing Restraint 9, about to be screened in London, but not at the gallery. It's not that they're bad; you just wonder what they are for. It's the work of an unthinking craftsman, turning out beautifully honed mother-of-pearl objects with no function...The real problem is that Barney's long, beautiful, sterile film Drawing Restraint 9, the source of these works, doesn't itself have the energy of The Cremaster Cycle."

However, Jones does concede, "The Cremaster Cycle, was one of the most striking works of art to come out of America in recent times."

Read the whole article:,,2172992,00.html

The Guardian also published a more in depth (and positive) article about Barney by Sean O'Hagan. In the article, Bjork says:

"Creatively, Matthew and I take opposite approaches that end in the same point,' she says. 'He enjoys restraint and discipline and thrives on it like a sportsman. Growing up, he had the athlete's attitude to limits. I was in a punk band, ignoring all restraints and embracing freedom. I still seek those heightened moments of freedom in my work. He does it the other way around, if that makes sense."

And Barney says of his process:

"The films are narratives, definitely,' he says. 'In fact, the way I put them together is not so different to the way I read other more conventional narratives. I actually find it very hard to read a book beginning to end and go completely inside that narrative. I have to be able to apply my day-to-day life to that narrative for there to be an even fractured understanding of that book. I have read a number of books where I have no idea what they are about in a narrative sense, but I am pretty confident I have a good sense of what the base of the story is."

Read the whole article:,,2163539,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

The Times's Morgan Falconer has a mixed opinion of Barney:

"For some, Barney’s success is to have found ways to talk about subjects such as sex and gender through fabulous allegories and slick films. Others are attracted to his persuasive yoking of film and sculpture. But for others, Barney’s work is tediously hermetic and self-indulgent. Had he been at all concerned about such accusations, though, he surely would not have engaged Björk to work on this new film, but he says that it simply made sense."

The article concludes with Barney stating that he has planned a trip down the Nile -- no doubt a chance to research imagery for Guarding the Veil.

Read the whole article:

If any of our British readers have photos from the Serpentine Gallery opening, please email them to us.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Die Daily at IFP New York

If you're in New York for IFP Independent Filmweek, you can see Matthew Wallin's Cremaster Cycle documentary I Die Daily on the big screen. The film will be showing at the Angelika Film Center next Tuesday at 11:00 AM and Thursday at 1:30 PM.

UPDATE: This screening will be a 15-minute edit of the film -- more of a "work in progress" than a polished film.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Serpentine Gallery Contest and Drawing Restraint Volume V Book

The Observer is giving away 125 pairs of tickets to a private view of The Serpentine Gallery's Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint on September 24. To qualify for the tickets, all you have to do is answer a (very easy) trivia question HERE before midnight tonight. You should also, of course, live in the London area.

The Serpentine Gallery has just announced that they are producing a new publication, Drawing Restraint Volume V, to accompany the exhibition. "This lavishly illustrated publication will include new texts on Barney’s Drawing Restraint series by New York-based writer and curator Neville Wakefield, Serpentine Gallery’s Chief Curator Kitty Scott and a short story by the award-winning Icelandic poet and lyricist Sjón. The book will also include previously unpublished images of Barney’s recent artworks."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Free Matthew Barney Paper Dolls in San Francisco

Head Cremaster Fanatic Eric Doeringer will be showing his Matthew Barney Paper Dolls in the Three Years and Counting exhibition at TART, 47 Lusk Alley, San Francisco, from September 14 - October 12. Visitors to the gallery can pick up a free paper doll (including outfits from Barney's roles in The Cremaster Cycle) to color and cut out. If you can't make it to TART, the paper dolls are also featured in the first issue of the Cremaster Fanatic Fanzine. We still have a few issues left for $5 postpaid. Email info (at) if you want to buy a copy.

Eric will also be talking about his work, including and The Matthew Barney Show, at the Whitney Museum in New York at 7 pm on September 28.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Matthew Barney at the Serpentine Gallery

The Serpentine Gallery in London will present an exhibition of Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint series from September 20 - November 11. The exhibition will include works from each Drawing Restraint from 1 through 15. In conjunction with the Serpentine, the Gate Picturehouse is screening Drawing Restraint 9 throughout the fall.

Barney will appear at a couple of events during the opening of the exhibition. On September 20, Barney and Hans-Ulrich Obrist will appear in conversation and present a special screening of Drawing Restraint 9. On September 21 Barney will screen three short films: Scab Action, Drawing Restraint 13, and De Lama Lamina.

The Serpentine Gallery is offering an exclusive Limited Edition of 25 boxed-sets of 8 signed and numbered photogravure prints, created by Matthew Barney. The prints are presented in a special box designed and produced by the artist. The edition is priced at £9,500 for the set of 8 prints.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pictures from I Die Daily

The web site for Matthew Walin's film I Die Daily - a documentary about the making of the Cremaster Cycle has lots of great "behind the scenes" photographs. I've posted a few images for your viewing pleasure, but there are many more (plus a video trailer) on the official site.