Matthew Barney Makes New Film in Detroit

October 4, 2010 · Print This Article

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A scene from Matthew Barney's new film, "Kuh." (HUGO GLENDINNING/Gladstone Gallery New York)

Detroit is really cooking lately, art-wise. Even Matthew Barney’s getting in on the action. Barney has been filming the second of a planned seven part film cycle in Detroit, and Mark Stryker of the Free Press has written an eyewitness blow-by-blow of the six hour filmed performance that took place there last Saturday. The opera is a loose adaption of Norman Mailer’s book “Ancient Evenings” (read more about the opera on the Barbara Gladstone Gallery website). Writes Stryker: “In Barney’s retelling, however, the main character becomes the 1967 Chrysler, which is reincarnated as a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and a 2001 Crown Victoria. The first film was shot in Los Angeles. Detroit, the birthplace of the Crown Imperial, is the setting for Act 2, titled Kuh. Barney has been shooting a lot of material, including a scene of the Trans Am flying to its death off the Belle Isle bridge.”

The performance began at the Detroit Institute of Arts with a screening of the film’s 30 minute prologue, continued on to a local glue factory where an aria was sung, and ended on a 185 foot barge travelling the Rouge and Detroit rivers. Read Stryker’s account of the performance/film shoot in full here.

Matthew Barney. Ancient Evenings: Khaibit Libretto, 2009 Graphite on paperback copy of Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer, on carved salt base, in nylon and acrylic vitrine; 15 1/2 x 13 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (39.4 x 34.9 x 37.5 cm)