Matthew Barney

Matthew Barney (Bron in Mar 25, 1967) is an American artist who works in sculpture, photography, drawing and film. His early works are sculptural installations combined with performance and video. Between 1994 and 2002 he created the The Cremaster Cycle, a series of five films described by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian as “one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema.” He is also known for his past relationship with the singer Björk.

Matthew Barney was born March 25, 1967, as the younger of two children in San Francisco, California, where he lived until he was 7. He lived in Boise, Idaho from 1973 to 1985, where his father got a job administering a catering service at Boise State University and where he attended elementary, middle, and high school. His parents divorced and his mother, an abstract painter, moved to New York City, where he would frequently visit. It was there where he was first introduced to the art scene.

Barney was recruited by Yale University in 1985 to play football and planned to go into pre-med, but he also intended to study art. In 1989, he graduated from Yale. His earliest works, created at Yale, were staged at the university’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. In the 1990s Barney moved to New York, where he worked as a catalog model, a career that helped him finance his early work as an artist. In 2002, Barney had a daughter with his then partner, the singer Björk, with whom he lived in a penthouse co-op in Brooklyn Heights. As of September 2013, Barney and Björk are no longer a couple; Björk chronicles the breakup in her 2015 album Vulnicura.

Barney maintains a studio in Long Island City, Queens.