Future Exhibitions & Events

The Adam Art Gallery in association with the 2016 New Zealand Festival is pleased to present the exclusive New Zealand premiere of River of Fundament, New York-based artist Matthew Barney’s latest and most ambitious project to date.

Developed over seven years with composer Jonathan Bepler, Barney’s long-time collaborator, River of Fundament is an epic six-hour cinematic adaptation of the late author Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel, Ancient Evenings. The project was conceived as a non-traditional opera and comprised three live performances in Los Angeles, Detroit and New York City. The film, River of Fundament, combines footage of these performances with narrative cinema and an innovative musical score to radically retell a complex mythological tale of a protagonist’s ultimately failed attempt to achieve immortality.

Barney and Bepler place Norman Mailer as the protagonist in his own narrative. Through three incarnations he visits his own wake, which is attended by Mailer’s literary peers in the setting of his Brooklyn Heights apartment. In a parallel narrative, the protagonist is the American automobile, which is likewise reincarnated, in this case by means of modern industral processes of manufacture and recycling. In each narrative, the protagonist endures the many stages and brutal challenges of regeneration that accompany attempts to ascend to higher, more powerful states.

The narrative is intensified by the use of characters from Egyptian mythology and Barney’s previous film, Cremaster 3, along with a multitude of mesmerising musical performances.  Employing a mix of traditional and experimental musical forms involving voice, percussion, strings, horns, handmade instruments, and ambient sound, the score  is an essential component of the dialogue and narration, whilst also reflecting each site’s history and character.

River of Fundament features performances by actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Stritch, Ellen Burstyn, Aimee Mullins, and a cast of hundreds of locally sourced extras. Musicians and singers include Joan La Barbara, Milford Graves, Lila Downs, Belita Woods, Herbert and Eugene Perry, and numerous others.

River of Fundament combines elements of cinema, live action, sculpture, and musical performance in an intense, highly complex, sometimes shocking mix. This is a film to be experienced. River of Fundament will be presented as a one-night-only gala screening in Wellington’s historic Embassy Theatre, at 6pm on Saturday 19 March 2016. Seating is limited.

For more information visit the River of Fundament website.


Where: Embassy Theatre, 10 Kent Terrace
When: Saturday 19 March, 6pm
Run time: 5 hours 52 minutes with two 30-minute intermissions
Tickets: Full: $49, Student: $39
Early bird tickets: Full $45, Students $35
Book via Ticketek

R18 Explicit sexual material and content that may disturb

Prices include one drink and light refreshments, food can be purchased, doors open 5pm. This event is generously supported by 

This exclusive screening has been organised in association with the 2016 New Zealand Festival.





 Matthew Barney, Drawing Restraint 6 1989/2004, documentation still copyright Matthew Barney, photo: Chris Winget. Courtesy of Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel and The Museum Of Modern Art, New York, Richard S. Zeisler Bequest and The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund (both by exchange)
Matthew Barney, DRAWING RESTRAINT 6 1989/2004, documentation still copyright Matthew Barney, photo: Chris Winget. Courtesy of Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel and The Museum Of Modern Art, New York, Richard S. Zeisler Bequest and The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund (both by exchange)

26 February – 24 April 2016

Adam Art Gallery is pleased to present DRAWING RESTRAINT: Matthew Barney, the first solo presentation of this major American artist’s work in New Zealand. DRAWING RESTRAINT is Barney’s most sustained body of work; this exhibition of videos selectively surveys the artist’s ongoing enquiry into action-based drawing, a project begun in 1987.

The exhibition will be presented alongside Linie Line Linea—Contemporary Drawing, an exhibition of drawings by 20 contemporary artists living and working in Berlin, brought to the Adam by the Institute for Cultural Relations (ifa) and Goethe-Institut Wellington. It also provides a context for the one-night-only screening of Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s epic six-hour film, River Of Fundament, presented on Saturday 19 March as the Gallery’s contribution to the 2016 New Zealand Festival.

In contrast to Barney’s films and live events, which have in some instances involved hundreds of participants, DRAWING RESTRAINT is Barney’s solo mode of practice. Prior to his exhibitions being made public, Barney will typically deploy trampolines, hoists and technical climbing equipment to ascend and traverse the otherwise empty spaces. Through this process these architectural confines become the restraining element of Barney’s expanded drawing procedures. The residue and marks that result from these interactions index the artist’s contact with his environment, resulting in site-specific works that make a subject of the artist’s body and its physical limitations.

Adam Art Gallery has worked with the artist to present these works specifically for its Kirk Gallery. Selected by the artist from his catalogue of the series, the videos are presented on ceiling mounted brackets and provide behind-the-scenes footage of Barney executing his drawings in various sites around the globe: New York, Kanazawa, London, and so on. Seen as a whole, these videos chart the development of Barney’s extraordinary practice. Many of these physical feats are echoed in the endurance-based activities of Barney’s characters in his infamous films: from the Cremaster series (1994 – 2002) to the feature-length film DRAWING RESTRAINT 9 (2005).

The DRAWING RESTRAINT works have been jointly loaned from the Schaulager museum, Basel and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Adam Art Gallery acknowledges the generous support of Matthew Barney Studio and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.



Thomas Müller, Untitled, 2008, ballpoint pen on paper, 297 x 210mm
Thomas Müller, Untitled 2008, ballpoint pen on paper, 297 x 210mm. Courtesy of the artist

26 February – 24 April 2016
Linie Line Linea—Contemporary Drawing

An exhibition of the Institute for Cultural Relations, brought to the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut

Marc Brandenburg, <em>Untitled</em>, 2006, collage on honeycomb paper, two parts, 2387 x 2365 x 20mm

Pia Linz, <em>Gehäusegravur: Atelier (Box Engraving: Studio)</em>, 2002-3, engraving on acrylic glass, tinted with intaglio ink, 875 x 960 x 1230mm

Thomas Müller, <em>Untitled</em>, 2008, ballpoint pen on paper, 297 x 210mm

Pauline Kraneis, <em>Ghashgai</em>, 2005, pencil on paper, 1730 x 3100mm

Christian Pilz, <em>Untitled</em>, 2006, pencil on paper, 594 x 841mm

Markus Vater, <em>Heart with Picnic Table</em>, 2008, feltpen on paper, 594 x 420mm




Drawing, despite changing technologies, remains central to the creative process, as a means to describe and think our world; it is a basic form of human expression capable of communicating across all kinds of cultural borders.

This exhibition brings together 20 contemporary artists living and working in Germany today, who all place drawing at the centre of their practices, to canvass a wide range of approaches to the medium. Curated by Volker Adolphs, Head of Exhibitions and Curator of Modern Art at Kunstmuseum Bonn, this is the exhibition’s only showing in New Zealand.

Artists in the exhibition are: Irina Baschlakow, Marc Brandenburg, Monika Brandmeier, Fernando Bryce, Marcel van Eeden, Gerhard Faulhaber, Katharina Hinsberg, Pauline Kraneis, Pia Linz, Christiane Löhr, Theresa Lükenwerk, Nanne Meyer, Thomas Müller, Christian Pilz, Alexander Roob, Malte Spohr, German Stegmaier, Markus Vater, Jorinde Voigt and Ralf Ziervogel.

The public programme will feature lectures by Volker Adolphs and one of the artists in the exhibition, Marc Brandenburg, who will also conduct a workshop showcasing his approach to drawing that responds to the urban environments in which he finds himself. The visit of Adolphs and Brandenburg is supported by Goethe-Institut, Wellington.