Do you remember Mathew Barney and his eight-year project Cremaster film cycle (1994-2002), exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in 2003?
Do you remember that this epic presentation involved biological, mythological and geological references of sex and the creation of the body called Cremaster, which is a muscle of the male body that regulates testicular contractions and temperature when receiving stimuli?
The exhibition in 2003 shocked his viewers, broke records in terms of the prices of his films in CD, and stirred up heated controversy among some extremely well-known art critics.
Presently he is showing about 100 drawings at the Morgan Library Museum in New York, including those related to Cremaster, his early works in late 1980s, and those related to his current project River of Fundament, a seven film project in collaboration with the composer Jonathan Bepler, inspired by Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, which chronicled the seven stages of the soul’s departure from the deceased body to rebirth in an ancient Egyptian mythological setting.
Under the title of “Subliming Vessel” the exhibition also shows drawings made during a new Drawing Restraint performance, the twentieth in this ongoing series that examines the relationships between creativity and self-imposed resistance.
Mathew Barney’s work has always been epic in terms of the vast variety of medium that he uses, including films of feature length, photographs, installations, sculptures and drawings, but his drawings are perhaps the most revealing of his themes and narrative, which tend to center on epic moments of the human experience.
In addition to the drawings, the exhibition also includes photographs, clippings and books used to map out the enigmatic and complex narrative structure of his projects.
* Cover photo:
Ancient Evenings: Ba Libretto, 2009
Ink, graphite and gold leaf on paperback copy of Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer, on carved salt base, in nylon and acrylic vitrine
15 1/2 x 13 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (39.4 x 34.9 x 37.5 cm)
Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Dallas
Copyright Matthew Barney