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January 10, 2007



well said. Barney always impressed me as an elitist hack who happened to make beautiful work with really heavy imagery. I'm glad that everyone can access the film for free and at home. Matthew must be throwing a tantrum.



Get out of my miiiind! I was just replaying the trailer (in my head) as I drove to work this morning, thinking I must see this pretentious madness.

Please say you are a David Lynch fan, so I may die happy...



I haven't read all of this yet; I'm still laughing at the speech balloon over Björk.



NEEDLES! Love it.

I am all for something different, but what the buggery bullocks was that?
His trailer did make me laugh though.



"Woman! Jelly! City! Uh, grody hole!"

And Rich, your recaps and critiques demonstrate a marvelous facility for sniffing out the pretention of "artistic philosophy" in pop culture--whether it be music, reality tv, genre films or performance art.

I wish my bullshit meter was as finely calibrated as yours.


'Drawing Restraint 9, Matthew Barney's latest big-budget ejaculation of ritual self-involvement and superficial foofery.'

- Village Voice, I couldn't have put it better.

you are perfect.


I have to admit... in my youth (okay, until I was in college) I was completely convinced that Björk was Japanese. I even had convinced myself that her parents were eccentrics and had given her a creative Scandanavian name. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that the gibberish on her albums was actually Iclandic. But now I have Matthew Barney to thank for getting me all confused again by putting Björk in a bath with some geishas.

M. Burgess

I'm sorry I don't care what anyone says but I thought DR9 was absolutely amazing (I saw it in the theater though). The lazy critic at Village Voice probably didn't even see the film. Sure, it was self-indulgent and could have been at least a half an hour shorter but seriously, I just love Barney's warped mind. The images are so original and breathtaking and that's really hard to achieve today. You can't call him pretentous because its totally his perspective. He is not "pretending" to be anybody because no one does what he does these days, pretentious is a word more misused then ironic lately.

But I do agree that he's an arrogant asshole for not releasing it on DVD because he's so "above it". I love his film and his vision regardless even if I think he's an stuffy art elitist in other ways.

But its so weird to me because the budget was obviously HUGE. I'm so jealous - where is he getting the money from and who is paying him to basically do whatever he wants? And since there is no dvd release and a limited theatrical release, how do they make profit? Where are these movie producers who don't care about profit? I just can't believe they exist, I want them to produce my films/music.


that trailer made me laugh so hard I peed a little......


How to fund an expensive, hermetic film is exactly Barney's original point about releasing it as a limited edition, though.

Basically, by packaging a DVD with an objet and wrapping them up in a "self-lubricating plastic" vitrine the size of a card table, Barney and his gallery are able to sell them as sculptures for several hundred thousand dollars apiece, thus providing funding for the next film.

In The Cremaster Cycle Barney also sold several actual props as sculptures--the TCC exhibition conveniently turned the Guggenheim rotunda into a showroom where other museums could shop for their Major Barney Installations--but by CR9 oozed onto the scene, the sculptures were all fabricated separately and with more archival materials--ie. cast plastic instead of 3 tons of vaseline.

Barney's production system, then, is predicated on the continued, artificial scarcity of copies of his movies. He's basically leveraging the irrationality of the art market and the passions of a handful of rich collectors to get his work made. It's kind of shrewd, frankly


Kim | January 10, 2007 at 06:18 PM

Actually, your first idea was correct. Unless the song has an Icelandic title, 99% of the time the gibberish you think is Icelandic IS just gibberish. She basically ad-libs in this kind of made-up language that's all her own, yet it does seem to be inspired by the sounds and pronunciations of her native language. Even though you might hear recurring "words" and phrasing in the sound, it doesn't mean anything.

One of my favourite songs of hers is called "Amphibian" and comes from the Being John Malkovich soundtrack, where the entirety of the vocals are basically ad-libbed nonsense.


First time commenter, Rich, loooong time reader.

I second what greg.org wrote above. But also, technically speaking, Barney is right in classifying his (limited) DVDs as sculpture. Multi-media installations certainly push the boundary of what's traditionally considered sculpture (bronze, plaster, steel, the like), but as unique creations, that's really the only way to describe them.

I work in fine art shipping and am constantly convincing customs that works are unique sculpture, whether it be multi-media or some other strange materials. The main point is that they have to be produced in a small edition (somewhere between 8 and 12, but I'm sure Barney does 6 to fetch more cash) and the artist reputable.


tee hee, THANK YOU! having been on the tail end of an art history degree during matthew barney's bigbig years (and therefore having had to listen to pretentious-student slavering over his work, possibly the worst kind), this backlash is a bit of poetic justice, to me - even if the voice critic and others are a little too eager about tossing iconoclasm at an iconic iconoclast, etc. etc., but that's the no big surprise. it still makes me all warm with schadenfreude to hear people come out with something other than gushing superlatives for barney and his work. i won't call him a hack by any means, but he's certainly not "the most important thing to happen to art in the last decade," either. as ever, you're right on target.


I was just wondering if Bjork was still with Barney, and now we also know all about her 70's bush. Always an interesting read.

G Miller

More of the same BS from Barney. I was his exhibit at SF MOMA recently. What a waste of time and money.

Ma Ha

I saw DR9 here in Japan at the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum.

I had to walk out after an hour and a half. Barney is right, his work is sculpture. Go out and find your favorite work of sculpture and stare at it. See if you can make it for 2 and a half hours!

The WORST part was not Bjorks bush, but her flabby arse when she got in the tub.

Somebody was drooling about budgets. Obviously Barney didnt shell out for any of his wardrobe. He was wearing this big fur get up and then takes it off on the ship and he has an outfit from THE LEVIs STORE! I swear to the good Lord above.

ok then.

Ma Ha


Fun post.
What a tedious old nincompoop.

Messalina 6-5000

Barney did release a half-hour segment of Cremaster 3 on DVD. I own it. I also found out in a rather alarming way how odd the proprietary aspect of his films is.

For a few years, I was a VJ at a nightclub. Rather than playing the usual "Mind's Eye" animation and other pre-packaged stuff you usually see, I preferred to inflict what I wanted to watch on the drunken public. They got the John Waters, Kenneth Anger, Jan Svankmajer, Russ Meyers, and they liked it. I was naturally excited to get my hands on a bit of Mr. Barney's testicle-obsessed weirdness up on the big screen in front of the drunk and the desperate. It went over really well, until one night my manager took me aside and said "You have to take that out RIGHT NOW." Apparently some employees from the local modern art museum,including an assistant curator, were in the house, and there were words like "lawsuit" being bandied about. They own one of the copies of that particular work, and were none too keen on the idea of wags like myself showing it all over town, as they had payed a metric shitload of money for the priviledge.


haw haw, I'm glad there are people out there who see through all this BS. Pragmatism aside, if you're going to be an aristocratic snob in an age of democratic media, expect some prankster to shit in your bed.

Yes yes, there's calculated "glamor" to how he distributes his work - techniques that have been with us since humanity begaaan. But with media like film, music, etc.,, there's no way you can keep it to yourself these days.


i think you are misunderstanding mr. barney. i don't think he's saying his art is too pristine or elite (or any of the other adjectives used) to be released. people gave him a lot of money to make the film and the people invested in it as a work of art. its a different kind of arrangement than in hollywood (for example) when people put up money to produce a film. in the art world its less about marketing and fiscal return and more about giving money to an artist to support their creative vision. it wasn't something that was ever intended to be released in a mass sort of way from day 1. and the people that gave the money got very special copies of the film, which are priceless. after that you can't turn around and sell the movie for $19.95 to the average consumer. it would be offensive to the people who gave to the artist. that said, one of the those people dubbed a copy and it leaked onto the net. i wouldn't be surprised if mr. barney or one of his friends did it themselves. they knew they couldn't release commercially in an official way but maybe wanted everyone to be able to see it. regardless, it has leaked and is now accessible to the masses.


Matthew Barney. Whitney Houston. Mary Carey.

Florrie Fisher. Twiggy. Keyshia Cole.

You are a missing link of astoundingly wonderful strangeness.

South Jersey creates a rare breed.

t kitty

let's compare this situation with that of the illustrious mr. crispin glover. he has created an equally disturbing and strange film what is it? which he claims will never go to tape or DVD, only be shown as projected 35mm. what mr. glover understands, however, is that he must continue to whore himself out in bad hollywood roles to make his films. now that's an honest man!

slut machine

bjork's bush is soooo european.


yeah,,, but he is hot.

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