The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 21 – May 5, 2011) will present the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award to multimedia artist Matthew Barney, perhaps best known for the five-part Cremaster film cycle.
Established in 1997, the Persistence of Vision Award each year honors the achievement of a filmmaker whose main body of work is outside the realm of typical narrative feature filmmaking, crafting documentaries, short films, television, animated, experimental or multiplatform work
Born in San Francisco and raised in Idaho, Barney first became involved in the art scene as a teenager. As an undergraduate at Yale University his work began to turn heads. Graduating in 1989 with a degree in fine art, Barney had already begun crafting some of his still ongoing artistic projects. Barney was 24 years old when he was given his first solo exhibition at SFMOMA and in 1994 he premiered Cremaster 4, beginning his visually extravagant series of feature-length films, nonsequentially. Over the past two decades Barney has constructed a magnificent universe through his work, drawing inspiration from sports, biology, literature and mythology. Barney has recently shied away from feature-length filmmaking to reconsider real-time performances. With some large scale pieces of live performance art, such as Ren and Khu, Barney has created a stir, using oversized props such as a whaling ship, and disrupting everyday life in major metropolitan cities. His live performance art is often documented in film and photography adding further layers to Barney’s multi-disciplinary approach to art.
Previous winners of the Persistence of Vision Award include animator Don Hertzfeldt (2010), documentarians Lourdes Portillo (2009), Errol Morris (2008) and Heddy Honigmann (2007), cinematic iconoclast Guy Maddin (2006), documentarians Adam Curtis (2005) and Jon Else (2004), experimental filmmaker Pat O’Neill (2003), Latin American cinema pioneer Fernando Birri (2002), avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger (2001), animator Faith Hubley (2000), documentarians Johan van der Keuken (1999) and Robert Frank (1998) and animator Jan Svankmajer (1997).