From Coq to Creme - The Maudlin Days of Matthew Barney

Often enough, the media reveals, and revels in, the dark pasts of celebrities, politicians and other public figures. Drug abuse, prostitutes, mugshots, illegitimate children and concealed homosexuality-ridden pasts of the girl/boy-next-door (and frequently conservative) types are a favored fodder to countless gossip outlets. But in the case of shocking visual artist Matthew Barney, his past is only a similar situation in that it was a complete 180-degree turn from his opulently bizarre image today.

Trailer for Barney's Cremaster Cycle, the name taken from the cremaster muscle in the testicles. Barney crawls through vaseline and animal fat, crashes cars in the Chrysler Building lobby, has dancing, cross-dressing, decomposed bodies and double-amputee models--all very un-J. Crew.

As revealed to me by DIS Magazine, before Barney became an art world superstar with his ground-breaking, yet long-winded Cremaster Cycle art films, he supported himself through college at Yale by modeling. Not nude / fetish / pornographic modeling like we've seen with other celebrities and pageant winners, (and would be apropos for the artist) but a shameful portfolio of all-American goodness consisting of J. Crew, Macy's, The Men's Store and Le Coq Sportif:

I wonder what his current girlfriend and baby mama Bjork would have to say about his gut-wrenchingly wholesome modeling days? But then again, it's kind of a "no wonder" he turned out to be an artist covered in blood and Alexander McQueen after all that forced smiling.