In 1967, the critic Brian O’Doherty described “the ideology of the gallery space” as “idealized,” “sealed off,” “untouched by time.” If this were true when O’Doherty penned these words, by 1991 the white cube was neurotic, with the airs of a padded cell, or so Matthew Barney suggested in “Facility of DECLINE,” his solo exhibition at Gladstone Gallery that year. To mark that show’s twenty-fifth anniversary, the artist has reformatted the exhibition, with a number of the original works on display.
Upon first entering the gallery, there didn’t appear to be much to see (especially for a Matthew Barney production), and in fact, one of the show’s most important components was the least visible: a track of mounts running along the ceiling, which Barney had used in the original installation to traverse the space. Both a structuring device and a narrative arc, this obstacle course, which
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