Matthew Barney

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Matthew Barney
Date created
video, color, silent, and climbing equipment, self-lubricating plastic, and graphite wall drawings
dimensions variable
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of the artist
© Matthew Barney
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 4 as part of Contemporary Collection Display: What Matters Episode 2

Audio Stories

What happened here?

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The artist Matthew Barney is known for strenuous performances, unusual choices of materials, and the provocative themes he explores. He emphasizes the process of how his work is made as much as the product. A work like DRAWING RESTRAINT 14 is like a crime scene, a collection of elements waiting for someone to interpret: what happened here?  

Stop on the landing and look across the skylight. Do you see a drawing on the opposite wall, underneath the sky-bridge? Barney created it in an after-hours performance action here in 2006, just before his solo exhibition at SFMOMA opened. Dressed as General Douglas MacArthur, Barney scaled the walls of the museum.  

[ON-SCREEN: Photo of Barney performing DRAWING RESTRAINT 14 in General MacArthur costume]  

If you look up to the left, you can see the hand holds he used on the wall above the stairs. Next, he made his way under the bridge, using carabiners and rope, to the opposite side of the skylight. Suspended from the bridge, he reached out and started drawing. You can even see the scuffmarks from his shoes as he braced himself against the wall.  

Like all the works in the series, DRAWING RESTRAINT 14 expands upon a basic idea — that struggling against resistance leads to physical and creative growth.   

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Other Works by Matthew Barney

See other works by Matthew Barney

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