Matthew Barney

Matthew Barney’s “CREMASTER” Films

Matthew Barney is the producer and creator of the “CREMASTER” films, a series of five visually extravagant works created out of sequence (“CREMASTER 4” began the cycle, followed by “CREMASTER 1,” etc.). The films generally feature Barney in myriad roles, including characters as diverse as a satyr, a magician, a ram, Harry Houdini, and even the infamous murderer Gary Gilmore. The title of the films refers to the muscle that raises and lowers the male reproductive system according to temperature, external stimulation, or fear. The films themselves are a grand mixture of history, autobiography, and mythology, an intensely private universe in which symbols and images are densely layered and interconnected. The resulting cosmology is both beautiful and complex.

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Staging Action: Performance in Photography at MOMA

Official Website:
January 28–May 9, 2011

The Robert and Joyce Menschel Photography Gallery, third floor

Performance art is generally experienced live, but what documents it and ensures its enduring life is, above all, photography. Yet photography plays a constitutive role, not merely a documentary one, when performance is staged expressly for the camera (often in the absence of an audience), and the images that result are recordings of an event but also autonomous works of art. The pictures in this exhibition, selected from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, exemplify the complex and varied uses artists have devised for photography in the field of performance since the 1960s.

Many artists have experimented with the camera to test the physical and psychological limits of the body. Not all performances exert such dire demands on the body, although many have entailed a sustained emotional engagement on the part of the artists: Bas Jan Ader photographed himself crying for the camera, and Adrian Piper used photography to chronicle a physical and mental state induced by fasting and writing in isolation.

Adrian Piper
Food for the Spirit. 1971.
Gelatin silver prints, printed 1997, 14 1/2 x 14 3/4″ (36.8 x 37.5 cm) each.

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Destricted: Sex Versus Art

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DVD Release: November 2 2010.

Destricted is the first short film collection of its kind, bringing together sex and art in a series of films created by some of the world’s most visual and provocative artists and directors. They reveal the diverse attitudes by which we represent ourselves sexually.

Destricted acts as a platform for all forms of uncensored artistic expression as it manipulates and embraces the expression of sex through art.

The Destricted brand is the first in a continuing series. The eight films presented explore the fine line where art and pornography intersect. The films highlight controversial issues about the representation of sexuality in art; opening up debate of the question whether art can be disguised as pornography or whether pornography can be represented as art or something else altogether. The result is a collection of explicit, stimulating, challenging, provocative, strange, and sometimes humorous scenarios that leave it up to the viewer to deliberate, discuss, and decide.

Following its success at Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival Critics Week, Destricted will be released on DVD in the US on November 2 2010.

Films & Filmmakers:

Hoist: Directed by Matthew Barney
House Call: Directed by Richard Prince
Impaled: Directed by Larry Clark
We Fuck Alone: Directed by Gaspar Noé
Four Letter Heaven: Directed by Cecily Brown
Green Pink Caviar: Directed by Marilyn Minter
Scratch This: Directed by Sante D’Orazio
Cooking: Directed by Tunga

Sexuality and transcendence

Sexuality and transcendence
24 April 2010 – 19 September 2010
1/3-2, “А” Block, Chervonoarmyska / Baseyna vul., Kyiv , Ukraine 01004

The issue of sexuality and transcendence touches on a fundamental conflict in art in general because, beyond mere appearance, behind it hides the general question of the relationship between reality (life) and imagination (image). And so the relationship between form and vision becomes a crucial issue for any artist dealing with sexuality and transcendence.

Which direction is a particular work going for? Does it answer the challenge with a praise of distance (form/transcendence) or with a demonstration of intimacy (life/sexuality)? The answers to these questions are so varied because, in addition to the paradigms inherent in the theme, the concept of desire is of central importance here. The general idea is kept open, both in respect of a desire for an ideal mental clarity, intellectual penetration and clarified form, and in respect of a desire for an ideal of realism, emotional directness and dissolution of form. Something Janus-like clinging to desire means that the two poles of sexuality and transcendence can be reflected within each other. The desire for the two things, sexuality and transcendence, dominates our existence; it is the driving force behind our earthly performance and, especially for artists, the search for an appropriate form.

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Drawing Restraint by Matthew Barney

12 June to 3 October 2010

This year Schaulager is presenting Drawing Restraint by Matthew Barney. Drawing Restraint is a series of performances, numbering sixteen thus far, in which Matthew Barney leaves traces in an environment of self-induced physical and psychological restraints. Works emerging from these performances, such as sculptures, vitrines, drawings and videos, are juxtaposed in the Schaulager exhibition with works of art from the Northern Renaissance.

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