Matthew Barney had his first solo exhibit in New York at the old Barbara Gladstone Gallery location in Soho. An instant success, Barney rocketed to international art-world stardom and has remained there ever since. Twenty-five years later, Gladstone is revisiting that seminal show by simulating it. Showcased in "Facility of DECLINE" are sculptures, videos, and drawings, among them two recorded performances (Blind Perineum and Radial Drill) that incorporate two sculptures (Repressia and Transexualis). Even in these early works, you'll find Barney's abiding concerns, obsessions, and psychosexual fetishes: a self-conscious display and critique of masculinity; gender liminality and delineation; and a fusion between biology and artistry. And what would Barney be without petroleum jelly and prosthetic plastic? Those materials make front-and-center appearances here, too.
Still from Matthew Barney's AUTOdrone (1992) courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery.
This is how it all began: In October 1991, two years removed from Yale, a young