Matthew Barney

Matthew Barney's New Epic Is a Mythomaniacal Mailer-Hemingway Mash-Up

And he's more scatological than ever

Nobody among the current elite crew of megalomaniacal mixed-media artists has gone farther than Matthew Barney when it comes to rejecting the old-fashioned constraints of the art gallery in favor of the dramatic possibilities of film. 

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Nobody talks about “midcult” anymore. I wonder how many people are even aware of this nifty coinage. I like the clipped sound of those two syllables locked together, the efficiency with which “middle” and “culture” have been shortened, abbreviated, then spliced together. Dwight Macdonald tossed midcult into the intellectual playground with his 1961 essay, “Masscult and Midcult,” originally published as a pamphlet by Partisan Review. And whatever the strengths and the weaknesses of that long, elaborate essay, the word has its own kind of mid-twentieth-century fascination.

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