Happy birthday to one of the most influential multi-disciplinary artists of our time, Matthew Barney. His truly unhinged creativity never ceases to amaze and being on such a high pedestal, frankly, we're surprised he's maintained such a high caliber of work throughout his career. We can only gather that it is Barney's ambition to create work of such a large scope and scale that makes his work continue to resonate with a wide audience.
Barney was born in San Francisco, but soon moved to Idaho until his parents divorced, allowing the young artist to spend his formative years becoming immersed in New York City's art scene. In contrast to artists who rely too heavily on concept to validate their minimal aesthetic, Barney's over-the top projects span decades and his feature-length films feature music by his wife, Bjork.
A visitor passes by a poster promoting US Artist Matthew Barney prior to the opening of his new exhibition 'Drawing Restraint' in the 'Kunsthalle Wien' on March 6, 2008 in Vienna
Jonathon Jones of the Guardian called Barney's "The Cremaster Cycle," "one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema." The five film-long series captures an essence rarely even attempted, a display of symbolism so deep that you can spend almost as much time discussing the films as Barney did making them.
Aside from an impressive visual feast that could make Freud himself wet the bed, the films are just plain entrancing. Even the hard-edged Norman Mailer, who appeared in "Cremaster 2," commented, "I enjoyed it. How could you not enjoy it?" Our thoughts exactly. Of course, every one of Barney's projects from the multi-decade spanning "Drawing Restraint" to performances pieces such as "REN" and "KHU" satisfy in the most challenging ways.
Happy birthday Matthew Barney! We can't wait to see what you come up with next.