September 19, 2003

Still More Love, Spirituality, Sex

Matthew Barney

I’m just an old man who nobody’s ever heard of, but this kid’s work is really cool.

In his Cremaster series, contemporary video artist Matthew Barney (a straight male) plays with a complex and many layered thought process about reconceptualizing human sexuality. He offers the possibility of a reconstruction of sexual identity based in human biology and his own very personal psychology. In an article titled “The Third Sex,” in Art in America, Jerry Saltz summarizes Barney’s oeuvre with particular attention to Cremaster IV. His complex reading of Cremaster IV supports the notion that Barney’s work is a carefully constructed though very personal reaction to gender and the sexing of people. Saltz states that “...Barney is ready for some kind of transformation: he has returned to, or evolved into, some kind of undifferentiated new sex” (Saltz, Jerry, “The Third Sex,” Art in America Oct. 1996: 82-91. Barney’s work is particularly important because he has constructed a new sexuality for himself through his art work that ignores or purposely violates gender stereotypes.

Barney’s reconstruction is based on the notion that our culture generates the binary gender stereotypes that each of us accept for ourselves without questioning their validity; that is feminine women v. masculine men and all the baggage that is attached.

And, when we get old (I would add) our culture stops applying the dichotomy and desexes us.

Daily Matters

Okay. I’m done with the heavy stuff for now. Time to SSS (Bleep, Shower, and Shave). I’m going to the Big Needle’s dining room for breakfast this morning. I usually have cereal, juice, and coffee here in the apartment, but not on pancake day!

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