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River of Fundament | Review

All that Glitters: Barney’s Operatic, Caterwauling Art-house Epic

Those familiar with the work of Matthew Barney, namely his impressive Cremaster Cycle (2003) and Drawing Restraint 9 (2005), either appreciate his artistic ambition to collapse, discombobulate, and erase the distinction of form, or discount his credibility (an appraisal that can be attributed to most provocative artists). His filmic language generally consists of a grand mixture of anthropomorphic fascination, formal cinematic composition, musically discordant fascination with opera, and a kind of live performance art/sculpture exhibit, amongst others. Sprawling, decadent, and enigmatic, fans and critics vacillate between lobbing appellations that range from ‘pretentious,’ to ‘genius,’ and he’s been referred to as one of the most important artists of his generation.

Whatever your opinion of his work, one cannot overlook the sheer audaciousness of his latest long-gestating hybrid, River of Fundament, a seven year project that kinda, sorta, maybe is the most interesting

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