HIGH ART. Matthew Barney jumps on a room-sized trampoline to make marks on a glass ceiling as part of the tenth installment of his Drawing Restraint series, performed in 2005 at Japan’s 21st Century Museum of Art.
Join us in covering yourself with petroleum jelly in celebration of the Museum of Modern Art‘s latest acquisition: “Drawing Restraint,” the ongoing series of work by artist Matthew Barney. MoMA has acquired the complete archive of the series jointly with the Laurenz Foundation (funding organization of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Schaulager in Basel), which will share equal ownership of the work. Begun in 1987 during Barney’s undergraduate days at Yale, Drawing Restraint explores how self-imposed impediments to drawing—from leg restraints and hockey skates to trampolines and the motion of the sea—can enhance an artist’s output. (Then there’s the 1993 installment, which features a couple of satyrs wrestling in a Manhattan-bound limousine, with the ewe attempting to use the ram’s horn to draw in the condensation formed on the moon roof.)
The various parts of the series capture aspects of Barney’s action in the form of drawings, sculptures, vitrines of objects, photographs, video, and film. “As remarkable as its precocious beginning is the fact that the series, now numbering sixteen, is still ongoing and evolving with no definite end after more than twenty years,” said MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Drawing Restraint provides an autobiographical path through Matthew Barney’s work and, in its scope, ambition, and continuity, is exceptional not only in his oeuvre but also in the art of the turn of the century.”
Speaking of exceptional, mark your calendar for screenings of Barney’s other epic work—the “Cremaster Cycle“—in New York City. Beginning Wednesday, the IFC Center will present all five films in three programs running through June 3. Die-hard fans can opt for the “cycle pass” (at $30, it’s a mere $6 per Cremaster!) and won’t want to miss Barney in person at the Thursday evening screening of Cremaster 4 and Cremaster 5. Keep in mind that this work is “Not available on DVD,” notes the IFC Center. “Not now, not ever.”