Matthew Barney at Barbara Gladstone Gallery
By Zack Bent
Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Wandering around the Chelsea district in NYC last spring, I happened upon an exhibit at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery. The work seemed familiar, large massive plastic machinish objects in several rooms and each sculpture connected to next via white molded plastic conduit like rope. Each weighty form seemed busted and a thick creamy substance oozed from their interiors. The whole place seemed like a shipyard catastrophe. After a bit of wandering I put 2 and 2 together that I had found myself amidst Matthew Barney’s newest collection of art; Drawing Restraint 13. The abstraction was visceral as I found myself mentally handling each work. The metaphors left begging as I wandered from room to room. There was a sense that a moment of grandeur had passed and by seconds I had missed the cacophony of its climax.

At some point, I arrived in a space that had a selection of drawings framed in clean, molded plastic frames. Acting as sketches to illuminate the product of the exhibit I had been witnessing, they were schematic and raw. One in particular showed an incarnation of a birth experience. I couldn’t help, but imagine Matthew Barney’s relationship to Björk and their new born child. C’mon mass media hasn’t eluded me. So there I was imagining what it might be like to for someone as fantastic in concept and production as Matthew Barney to have a child. What might the phenomena of birth do to man of such strange and creative stature?

The thoughts lulled and I left the room of drawings and headed for the door. On to the next of the 200 plus Chelsea galleries. As I approached the exit to the gallery, the door swung open only to present Matthew Barney, Björk, and child in a stroller in flesh. I caught their eyes and they caught mine. Then our gazes lowered to our feet and we crossed paths as strangers do at every turn.

Barbara Gladstone Gallery – http://www.gladstonegallery.com/barney.asp
Drawing Restraint – http://drawingrestraint.net/
Björk – http://unit.bjork.com/specials/dr9/

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