I was intrigued by a review in the Los Angeles TImes of Matthew Barney’s latest performance piece, called REN. The two hour event took place in a car lot, and featured the destruction of a 1967 Chrysler Imperial.
The car was dragged by “four dozen dirt-smeared laborers” into a showroom, where it was smashed by a backhoe. The shattered glass injured three people in the audience, but hey, they came to see Art and they got it!
After the paramedics left, the audience was ushered into a fake tomb where Lila Downs sang to a corpse and – this is my favorite part – “a menstrual shroud was extracted from the loins of a masked nude woman.”
Is Matthew Barney a fucking genius or what?!
If you’re not convinced, how about this: Just last month in New York, Barney used another Chrysler to fascinate a crowd of 200, wearing a dog on his head. A legless athlete in a silver ballgown and a marching band in terrorist masks were there to bring Barney’s vision to life, as were a pair of semi-nude girls who peed in an arc onto the floor. Then a bull was led over to the Chrysler but refused to mount it.
I’m not too good as symbolism, but I think it’s obvious that the bull was a witty reference to shit. Right?