Cremaster Fanatic

News - 2005

2006 News


The SFMOMA has issued a press release detailing their exhibition plans for Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint exhibition, which will run from June 23 - September 17, 2006 (the exhibtion is on display at the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Korea through January 8). The exhibition will take over the museum's fourth floor (which will have almost all of the walls removed), and Drawing Restraint 9 will be screened daily in the museum's Phyllis Wattis Theater.

The gallery component of DRAWING RESTRAINT 9 represents the narrative crux of the film and encapsulates fundamental aspects of the project. The large-scale sculptures—constructed from various synthetics, metals, and cast petroleum jelly—are intended to stand independently from the film, extending its filmic content in three-dimensional form. Cetacea, 2005, depicts the cooled petroleum jelly that has collapsed on the deck of the ship once its mold is removed. Undergoing the same transformation observed in the film, the sculpture’s heaving mass resembles whale blubber; its complex surface pattern suggests a pristine, white ocean or field of arctic ice floes. Holographic Entrypoint, 2005, one of Barney’s largest works to date, represents in concrete and white plastic the two flensing decks—inclined surfaces used for flensing whale carcassses—that appear in the film. One seems to emerge from the collapse of the other, as if suspended in a state of simultaneous destruction and regeneration. This allusion to architectural renewal was inspired by Japan’s Ise shrine, which is rebuilt every twenty years on an adjacent site. Ambergris, 2005, made of plastic, cast shrimp shells, and a white cable that meanders through the galleries, represents the byproduct of a whale’s digestive system, once valued in the perfume industry and figures into the film as a mysterious object fished from the sea and inserted into the molded petroleum jelly sculpture, furthering its intricate transformation. Some sixty photographs, framed in self-lubricating plastic and often arranged in groups, depict key moments from the story.

Several sculptures and drawings from DRAWING RESTRAINT 9 not on view at the exhibition’s previous venues will debut at SFMOMA. In addition, The Path, a small body of early drawings and notes that map out the conceptual underpinnings to DRAWING RESTRAINT, will be displayed.

There is also a three-part Drawing Restraint catalog available including essays by Hans Ulrich Obrist; Neville Wakefield; Yuko Hasegawa, curator at Museum for the 21st Century in Kanazawa; Luc Steele, a scientist specializing in artificial intelligence; and Shinichi Nakazawa, a notable theologist and folklorist.


Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York has scheduled a Matthew Barney exhibtion for April 1-29, 2006. The gallery has posted a number of photographs from Drawing Restraint 9 on its web site, so the exhibition will probably feature works related to DR9.


AP reports that Matthew Barney, Bjork, and their 3-year-old daughter Isadora are planning a sailing trip around the world. Bjork is currently enrolled in a 10-week course to learn to pilot a 30-ton boat.


A photograph of Bjork shot by Matthew Barney graces the menu this month at New York's Chanterelle restaurant (2 Harrison Street at Hudson Street, 212-966-6960).


Matthew Barney is working on a project to be included on a DVD of pornographic/sexually explicit films by contemporary artists. The DVD is being compiled by Neville Wakefield and Mel Agace and will be released on the De-restricted label. Cowboys are rumored to play an important part in Barney's film. Other artists providing films for the DVD include Larry Clarke, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Marina Abromovic.


De Lama Lamina will be included in the ARC Biennial in Brisbane. The film will screen at 6 PM on October 30 at the DEMBY Cinema.


De Lama Lamina will be screened as part of the International Competition at the Kunst Film Biennale in Cologne, Germany from October 19-24.


There are a couple of screenings of films from the Cremaster Cycle coming up in the US: Cremaster 2 at the 10th Anniversary Super Hits Festival at the Northwest Film Forum on October 2 and Cremaster 3 at the Landmark Sunshine Cinemas in New York City on October 21 and 22.


vfxblog has an interview with Matthew Wallin, Adam Martinez, and Demetrius Leal of Mantron Corporation about creating the visual effects for Drawing Restraint 9.


The Art Newspaper reports that the tree Matthew Barney built as a part of the De Lama Lamina float began to rot after the float was purchased by Brazilian collector/art dealer Fernando Paz. Barney flew to Brazil to assess the damage and then had an assistant cast a new tree in polyurethane from the original.


The ffactory blog has a nice set of links to further information on the settings, symbolism, etc. in Drawing Restraint 9, similar to the links we have for the Cremaster Cycle.

Bjork's soundtrack to Drawing Restraint 9 will be released in the US on August 23 - it is already available in Japan and Europe. DR9 is being screened in Venice, Italy as part of the "Horizons" section of the Venice Biennale Film Festival.

07/28/05 reports that Matthew Barney's next exhibition in New York will be in May 2006 at Barbara Gladstone Gallery. No word on whether the exhibtion will feature work from Drawing Restraint 9, De Lama Lamina, or an entirely new project.


Agnes b, one of the sponsors of Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint exhibition in Japan, has commissioned Barney to design a T-shirt. The T-shirt is currently available at agnes b boutiques in Japan and will be available worldwide in the Fall. Agnes b is also producing a documentary on the making of the Drawing Restraint series.

A pithier synopsis of Drawing Restraint than that offered on the official site is given by Alex Rühle in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (as reported/translated by, "Shot on the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru in Nagasaki Bay, the film centers on The Field, a sculpture made of liquid Vaseline that is molded on the ship's deck. Björk and Barney arrive as guests on board the ship. During a storm, they marry each other in a mysterious ceremony, morph into whales and then swim off towards the Antarctic. In this dream-like story, nothing is really narrated." Bjork says, When Matthew Barney and I got together, we swore to each other that we would never work together. And now I am acting with him in his film! But it is also something completely different, and I'm not even sure if one could call Drawing Restraint 9 a film. . . . I appear, but I am not playing a role."

Bjork also relates (translation courtesy of that her favorite point in the film is a scene where she and Barney cur off each others' lower bodies. "This mutilation has nothing horrible about it, it's part of a transformation. When we cut into each other, the open flesh is not human flesh any more. It's white like whale flesh. Our legs drop off, we grow foetus-like tails and then we become whales and swim off towards the Antarctic."


Bjork's soundtrack for Drawing Restraint 9 will be released on July 25 on Universal/Polydor. and several other online music stores have the disc listed as an import (UK/Japan), from what I can find on the web it may not be released in the U.S. until late-August. Click here to see the cover art. The 21st Century Museum of Art has posted more information (in English) on their Drawing Restraint retrospective.


This web page (from has lots of info on Drawing Restraint 9. inclduing pitures and samples from Bjork's soundtrack (including one track with guest vocals from Will Oldham).

The two hour and fifteen minute magnum opus Drawing Restraint 9, was shot in Nagasaki Bay on board the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru. Its core idea is the relationship between self-imposed resistance and creativity, a theme it symbolically tracks through the construction and transformation of a vast sculpture of liquid vaseline, called "The Field", which is molded, poured, bisected and reformed on the deck of the ship over the course of the film.

Barriers hold form in place, and when they are removed, the film tracks the descent of form into states of sensual surrender and formal atrophy; this shift in the physical state of the sculpture is symbolically mirrored through the narrative of The Guests, two occidental visitors to the ship played in the film by Matthew Barney and Björk, who we first see taken on board, groomed, bathed and dressed in mammal fur costumes based upon traditional Shinto marriage costumes.

They take part in a tea ceremony in which, in the film's only moment of spoken dialogue, they are informed about the history of the vessel, and then, as an increasingly powerful lightning storm breaks out overhead, the tatami mat room they occupy floods with liquid vaseline, a fluid which we sense has emanated from The Field sculpture itself.

In a harrowing liebestod which is the climax and centerpiece of the film, the Guests, locked in an embrace and breathing through blowhole-like orifices on the back of their necks, take out flensing knives and cut away each other's feet and thighs. The remains of their lower body are revealed to contain traces of whale tails at an early stage of development, suggesting rebirth, physical transformation, and the possibility of new forms.

Having reached a state of maximum disintegration, the sculpture of The Field is then reorganized and the ship emerges from the storm, sailing through a field of icebergs towards the open southern ocean. In the last shot, two whales can be seen swimming behind the ship, headed for Antarctica.

Also, the 21st Century Museum of Art, Kanazawa, Japan has posted this press release (in Japanese) for their retrospective exhibition of Barney's Drawing Restraint series. The exhibition will run from July 2 - August 25 and then travel to the Leeum Museum in Seoul from October 13 - January 8 and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from June 23 - September 19, 2006. According to the SFMOMA web site, they will be the only US venue for this exhibtion.

Unfortunately, I came across this information too late to pass it along, but Hoist was screened at the Akureyri Art Museum in Iceland from May 15 - June 5. Apparently Hoist is a 15-minute video loop related to De Lama Lamina.


Fabrizio, a Cremaster Fanatic from Italy, emailed me these photos from Drawing Restraint 9 and confirmed that the pictures in the post from 5/13 (at least the one with the knife) are from DR9 as well.


An alert Cremaster Fanatic sent me these pics that he found on a Bjork fan site. He didn't have much info on the photos, but they appear to be from Barney's forthcoming video Drawing Restraint 9.


I thought there would be more reports from the De Lama Lamina screening at MIT last month posted online, but I haven't found much. Larissa Harris writes on's "Diary" that, "the new Barney/Lindsay flick began to unspool, showing an Ogun-figure (a Candomble deity), naked but accessorized with a beak and a "root-vegetable butt plug" (as a friend put it later), strapped below the spinning axle of a giant, rusty float in the midst of the drumming crowds at Carnival. The film shifts between his activities (he slowly wraps the axle in wads of slimy cotton to create a masturbation aid, then uses it, penis flopping unwatchably right and left); those of a silent, shaggy woman who builds a kind of harness/jail for herself in a tree, à la environmental activist Julia Hill; and the crowd and musicians, including the sweating, lantern-jawed Lindsay himself, singing hoarsely in Portuguese. Talking to Bennett Simpson the next day (who had written a piece on the project) I came around to seeing the "unsublimated" nature of this new Barney as kind of interesting: good-dirty. Certainly, it bolstered the impression that Cisneros's conception of evil as a kind of pre- or para-Judeo-Christian magic or life force, inextricably woven into all that is good, was the reading that won the day."

Blogger King Mab says, "Matthew Barney was unfortunately not there at all, but had sent up his film "De Lama Lamina," shot and performed during the 2004 Brazilian Carnavale. This was eminently disappointing, involving a few obvious sexual symbols (including an actual man's penis and masturbation against an operating machine) that did not connect otherwise. Stray vignettes were interesting, such as assistants strapping shovels and other iron tools to a wheel through snow-tire roping. But on the whole it felt like a diluted Cremaster film, not as ambitious but having also found no other virtues." A few other blogger's were more positive about the film, but didn't go into much detail.

For any Cremaster Fanatics out there who happen to be "Junior Associates" of MOMA, there will be a private screening on May 10. Still no word from Barbara Gladstone Gallery about if/when they will present an exhibition of De Lama Lamina.


®TMark has posted a streaming video of Cremaster 5. Click here to download and get information about the Untitled #29.95 video, which includes clips from C5 and other hard to find art videos.


Word on the street (ok, the blogsphere) is that Matthew Barney and Bjork are currently in Minneapolis for the opening of the Walker Art Center. Some of Barney's work will be on display in the inaugural exhibition, and apparently he has been there for a couple of weeks working on the installation. The public opening is tomorrow -- so all Minneapolis Cremaster Fanatics should head over.


Matthew Barney's first post-Cremaster film, De Lama Lamina, will be screened at 3:20 PM in Building 10, Room 250 at MIT on Sunday, April 3 as part of a day-long seminar called Regarding Evil. The screening is free and open to the public. As far as I know, this will be the North-American premier. The press release for De Lama Lamina states:

DE LAMA LAMINA, 50 minutes

This year’s Carnaval de Salvador comes with the participation of American artist Matthew Barney and American-Brazilian musician Arto Lindsay. Lindsay and Barney are inspired by Carnaval in Bahia, where they interpret sharp social contrasts and aspiring social paradigms.  As artists, Barney and Lindsay are moved by the inter-blending of culture, as internal Brazilian traditions embrace and respect the influences of Africa and other nations. In this xeno-celebration, Lindsay and Barney hope to bring their language into the context of the Bahia tradition.

The musical framework proposed by Lindsay and his band in conjunction with their guest percussionists and singers will combine, in an actively improvisational form, songs and music they have composed especially for the occasion as well as Brazilian songs chosen from a more traditional local repertoire, among which are bloco Afro songs, a few popular sambas, and some rock songs. These provide a basis onto which Lindsay’s distinctive practice as an experimental/noise musician will be superimposed and performed, often in direct articulation with the trio’s architectural and structural elements. In this context, the dispersed configuration of the speaker towers will provide a spatial dimension to the sound that is as lucid as it is sculptural.

The ecological implications conveyed through symbols and metaphors are intended to be speculative, to raise questions and awareness, as porous abstractions rather than solutions. They are a result of the artists’ passions and respect for the duality implicit in nature as found in Candomble. The Candomble orixá (deity), Ogun, has become the organizing principle of this project, referenced under the juxtaposition of Ossain, one of his mentors.  Ogun is the deity of war and iron, while Ossain, patron of leaves, knows all the secrets and medicinal properties of plants. Ogun lives in the flames of the blacksmith’s forge, on the battlefield, and more particularly on the cutting edge of iron. His nature is ambivalent, possessed with the power to destroy as well as to construct.

In this context, the architectural design of the trio is structured around the image of a tree. An enormous forestry truck, covered with fresh mud, leads the trio ensemble with an uprooted tree held vertically in its front mandible. A lone figure stands at the top of the tree - this is the character of Julia Butterfly Hill, an ecological activist who spent two years  (1997-1999) living at the top of a two hundred foot Great Redwood Tree in California in efforts to save the tree and its neighboring forest from clear cutting.  Over time, her exposed hands and feet slowly became part of the skin of the tree, splitting and peeling, forming a bark of human flesh. This fusion of human and hardwood provides the image of Ogun’s creative will for the trio beneath her.

Her character is echoed by another human presence that inhabits a darker, more oblique existence. This is the “Greenman”, a hybrid man and plant that undergoes a biomorphic transformation which springs from and unfolds along with his love for machines. The Greenman and the iron chassis he inhabits provide the image of Ogun’s destructive sword within this constellation of metaphors.

Counteracting the destructive forces are those that recreate and reconstruct. The tree trunk is braced at the bottom where an attempt was made to chop the tree Julia Butterfly Hill lived on after her parting. Similarly, two smaller auger-headed tractors providing the support for Lindsay’s speaker towers have their front perforators encrusted with seeds. A cyclical relationship underlines all mythological and metaphoric elements that compose the trio, establishing an intimate dialogue with the antagonistic drives inherent in the orixás of Ossain and Ogun.

The forestry truck pulls a large block of dirt that represents a cross-section of the earth underneath the ground, on top of which lies the stage for Arto Lindsay’s band. The monumental vehicle is also a musical instrument: Ogun’s seven iron tools are attached onto its tires creating a clacking samba beat. In the same way that Lindsay’s guitar is used by the musician as an expression of electricity itself, of sound exceeding music, Ogun’s tools around the tires make literal what is already evident, the power and sound of iron.

Barney’s abadás (costumes worn by dancers in the trio) were designed within the conceptual framework where nature and technology meet to achieve a unique balance: the study of the tree’s “skin” has been translated onto a laser-cut piece of paper made from synthetic fibers, resulting in a thin, delicate outfit composed of white tops and kilts which will dress the bodies of approximately one thousand members.

The physical and thematic attributes of technology and nature are continuously explored through an interlaced dialogue between candomblé myth, environmental and political history and allegory, music and technology. These diverse sources and elements compose a narrative ground that unfolds and builds up throughout the course of the parade. The dualistic content inherent in candomblé imagery provides a lens through which central aspects of the contemporary political climate can be understood.


I ran into Matthew Barney and Bjork today in Chelsea -- my first in-person sighting!!! I recognized Bjork immediately because she was wearing the same brightly-colored shawl she has on in a number of photographs posted on this site. Unforunately, I didn't have my camera but Matthew was very nice and said he likes the site.


Pictures of Matthew Barney and Bjork's bed.


I found a bunch more pictures from the filming of De Lama Lamina online. Click Here

2004 News