THE FIRST RETROSPECTIVE OF MATTHEW BARNEY’S DRAWINGS TO BE PRESENTED AT THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM THIS SPRING
Matthew Barney (b. 1967) is best known for his sculptures and films, but drawing also plays a critical role in his work. Subliming Vessel: The Drawings of Matthew Barney, on view at The Morgan Library & Museum from May 10 to September 2, is the first exhibition devoted entirely to this aspect of his art. The show ranges from Barney’s earliest drawings, made while he was a student at Yale in the late 1980s, to works related to his most recent project, RIVER OF FUNDAMENT. They trace his investigation of drawing as an activity both independent from and linked to his sculptural and performative practice.
In addition to Barney’s drawings, the exhibition will also include a number of his storyboards— composed of sketches, photographs, clippings, and books—which he assembles to map the narrative structure and imagery of his projects. Barney has selected books and manuscripts from the Morgan’s collections to display as part of his storyboards. These items—which include a more than two-thousand-year-old Egyptian Book of the Dead, a medieval zodiac, and poet Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass—demonstrate the breadth of Barney’s interests and underscore the importance of literature and mythology in the elaboration of his stories.