From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Matthew Barney (born March 25, 1967 in San Francisco, California) is a contemporary artist who works with film, video, installations, sculpture, photography, drawing and performance art. Barney has described himself as being primarily a sculptor.
New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman called Barney "the most important American artist of his generation." Barney's work has been described as being part of "the legacy of the performance art of the 1960s and 1970s."
Barney spent his youth partially in Idaho, where he played football in Capital High School, and partially in New York City with his mother, who introduced him to art and museums. This intermingling of sports and art would inspire his later work as an artist. Barney entered Yale University planning on studying medicine, but became enamored with art and fashion. He received a B.A. from Yale in 1989. He also worked briefly as a model for Click Modeling Agency, and was in a J. Crew ad.