The ugliness factor


Even before I knew it was Matthew Barney I knew it might be. Who else? An installation in a Chelsea gallery that snakes through four rooms and the entryway with huge objects made out of what appears to be fat or wax or some other dense repulsive material. This installation at Gladstone Gallery” has something to do with the artist’s new movie, made with his wife Bjork. I’m not sure the sculptures were used in the movie but they probably were. That’s the Barney m.o.

Steve said “Yuck.” And that pretty much summed it up. The motif was nautical, the color was white or the off white lard color. There were ropes covered with white wax that connected things together from room to room, and basically it didn’t cohere except as some Moby Dick-ish visual diary of a mad man.

I don’t know but I wish we could get over this guy. Or more than that I wish Barney could get real and give us something meaningful that looks away from his navel and into the sight lines of the real world where people actually do work and worry about the rent money and have sons and fathers that go off to war and don’t come back. Enough already.


matthew barney



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