new-york

Matthew Barney, Secret Name, 2008–11, cast lead, polycaprolactone, copper, zinc, 21 3/4“ x 14' 11” x 10' 8 1/2".

Matthew Barney

Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

Matthew Barney, Secret Name, 2008–11, cast lead, polycaprolactone, copper, zinc, 21 3/4“ x 14' 11” x 10' 8 1/2".

Reviewing Norman Mailer’s ill-fated “Egyptian novel” Ancient Evenings in the New York Times back in 1983, critic Benjamin DeMott judged the mytho-historical epic a product of “a powerful imagination . . . working with stunning intensity,” but one fatally compromised by the “preoccupations and obsessions of a late 20th-century mind.” Mailer’s book provides the broad conceptual framework (as well as the title) for Matthew Barney’s newest project cycle, a gargantuan multipart “site-specific opera” created with the artist’s regular collaborator, the composer Jonathan Bepler. The most recent act—a sprawling, profoundly Barneyesque enterprise—famously involved, among other astonishments, twenty-five tons of molten iron being poured into a pit along the Detroit River for the delectation of a bargeload of freezing art-world hotshots. Nearly a year later “DJED,” Barney’s recent

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