Matthew Barney is an American artist and filmmaker, who is known for his ambitious, large-scale works that explore connections between sculpture, drawing, performance, and film. He was born in San Francisco, California in 1967 and raised in Boise, Idaho. Barney was enrolled at Yale University, where he studied sculpture and photography. It was here that he first began to experiment with different ideas and materials in his artwork.
Barney's first solo exhibition was at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York in 1991. His art was met with critical acclaim and he continued to exhibit around the world throughout the 1990s. In 1993, he created his first film, Cremaster I, which was part of a five-part cycle of films he created between 1995 and 2002. The Cremaster Cycle explored themes of sexuality, identity, and mythology and was widely acclaimed for its ambitious scope and inventive visuals.
In 2004, Barney created Drawing Restraint 9, a feature-length film which was shot on a Japanese whaling ship. The film was inspired by the ancient Japanese practice of self-restraint and was well-received by critics and audiences alike. In 2007, Barney released the feature-length film River of Fundament, which was an adaptation of Norman Mailer's novel Ancient Evenings.
Throughout his career, Barney has produced a variety of artwork which has been exhibited around the world. He has also received numerous awards, including the Hugo Boss Prize in 1996 and the Carnegie Prize for International Artists in 2005. His work has been collected by major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Barney continues to experiment with different media and materials, creating works that challenge viewers to think about the boundaries between art and film. His ambitious projects have pushed him to the forefront of the contemporary art world and have made him one of the most influential and innovative artists of his generation.