04w18:2 Matthew Barney Part 2

by timothy. 0 Comments


Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 18 number 2 (Matthew Barney Part 2)

Ok, so I know it is totally uncool to be into Matt Barney, and so I have a feeling that I might be lucky if you weren’t disgusted by the subject line and are actually reading this. Here’s the thing: I’m currently working on a new frontpage for Goodreads so that it will be accessible to a RSS newsreader, and the other night I really needed a post to help test out its development. Which means that my thoughts were partially on other things and I forgot one of the best articles of all, Onan the Magnificent, by Roger Hodge.

There is no way that I couldn’t share this article with you, since it is one of the better ones I’ve ever read on Barney’s work, respectfully critical and at the same time able to remind one what is so silly about the Cremaster Cycle. So, in order to bring you Hodge’s article, I thought I should make it worth our while and bring you another serving of thoughts on Barney. Amoung the new selections is the first time I’ve included a link to an audio file. This is the net afterall, no need to for a goodread not to be a goodlisten. It’s a half hour long and Barney lives up to the speculation (posited in that damn National Post review that is for sale on their site and so I can’t direct you to it) that he can’t communicate. Lots of ums and dead air as he struggles for the words to answer the questions, but nevertheless worth a listen if you are interested. The link directs to a webpage, from which it is accessible (RealPlayer required). – Timothy


Onan the Magnificent | Roger D. Hodge
“It is perhaps inevitable that the most heroic artist of our age should appear after the ‘death of the author,’ at a time when the word ‘genius’ has been all but erased, at a moment of unparalleled suspicion and resentment of the achievements of great men, when the very concepts of the good, the true, and the beautiful have been rejected by most advanced critics. To be sure, appreciative reviewers have noticed that Barney represents a crystallization of the techniques, themes, and obsessions of the vanguard art of the last decade or so, and that he shares with his contemporaries a passionate interest in sexual politics, sexual identity, and gross primary sexual morphology. The 1990s, in the arts as in politics, were the decade of the genital, and Barney falls squarely within this strain of recent art. Appropriately, fame and fortune have followed, but Barney’s fame hitherto has been limited to mere celebrity. His work, however, demands not notoriety but awe. What even the artist’s most ardent admirers have failed to recognize is that Matthew Barney is the Michelangelo of genital art, the supreme master of the genre, whose work so transcends the run-of-the-mill video artist masturbating in his studio that he also may be said to bring his tradition to its unsurpassable realization.(1) ”

Cremaster Master | Andy Spletzer
“I started exhibiting my work pretty quickly, right out of school. I had been making work that needed a context, a site. An interesting thing happened right as I was graduating [in 1989]: The stock market crashed and really changed the landscape of the art world in New York. It made the kind of work I was doing interesting to galleries that wouldn’t have normally been interested in it. I was continuing to make work that was site specific, but it was happening in galleries. I did that for a couple of years, and I started getting the itch to get back to very specific places in the world as the primary site for the work. This is what the Cremaster project grew out of.”

Matthew Barney| Alan Murdock
“‘Yesterday at lunch I had a talk with a couple of fellow instructors about the work of Matthew Barney. One instructor couldn’t understand why he might be important to the art world. ‘Who decides? Is it some club on the East Coast that goes through and says who is going to be important? I mean, do you like his work?’ ‘He’s well connected,’ another instructor said. ‘But it’s like Duchamp – you don’t have to like it, it’s more about a visual exploration of philosophical concepts.'”

The Leonard Lopate Show | Leonard Lopate/Matthew Barney

LL:”You must be very pleased when someone has important to the art world as Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times calls you the most important American artist of his generation. Do you take all of that seriously? Doesn’t that put a lot of pressure on you?
MB: Well I think that, luckily, that there are as many reviews that would say the opposite.
LL: So you like the bad reviews?
MB: I they’re important. I think they’re important for a dialogue to take place. That I wouldn’t want the bad ones to go away. ‘”(28:34/31:03)

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 27 April 2004 @ 4:41 PM

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