Matthew Barney

On Vandalism, Ownership, Masturbation, and I/O

In April I visited the Cy Twombly museum in Houston. The door was open and there was no one at the desk. I walked around the series of rooms that form a rough circle by myself for twenty minutes before I saw or heard anybody else. I felt like at many points I could have done anything I wanted in those rooms to myself or to the paintings. I didn’t do anything but look.

In 2007, at another exhibition of work by Cy Twombly, a woman named Rindy Sam kissed 1 panel of the triptych titled Phaedrus, a set of all white canvas, getting red lipstick all over it, altering the white. She was arrested and tried in court.

The prosecution, calling it “A sort of cannibalism, or parasitism”, while admitting that Sam is “visibly not conscious of what she has done”, asked that she be fined 4500€, compelled to an assorted penalty, and to attend citizenship classes. The art work, which is worth an estimated $2 million, was on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Avignon. In November 2007 Sam was convicted and ordered to pay 1,000€ to the painting’s owner, 500€ to the Avignon gallery that showed it, and 1€ to the painter.


Craft Notes / 111 Comments
July 18th, 2010 / 6:32 pm

“To Be Natural Is Such A Difficult Pose To Keep Up”

Salvador Dali and Gala Dali (1936)

Blockquotes excerpted from Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp,” dedicated to Oscar Wilde.


Excerpts & Film & Roundup / 50 Comments
June 25th, 2010 / 2:46 pm

Youtube yet again teaches me something about writing.


This time, though, I’m not entirely sure what.

Someone has taken Matthew Barney’s Cremaster films, and made them into levels for a video game called LittleBigPlanet.

It actually sort of makes sense, too. The piece of the films that I’ve seen is that section of Cremaster 3 available on DVD, the one called “The Order.” It’s a 30 minute piece in which Barney as The Entered Apprentice overcomes a series of obstacles to reach the top of the Guggenheim.

Technology / 15 Comments
May 5th, 2009 / 6:48 pm