Matthew Barney Program: Houdini, O'Williams, Otto (HO2) (1991)

  • Not on view

Barney's small drawing, mounted on a hinged apparatus of prosthetic plastic, diagrams the three personalities identified in the title of the work: famed magician Harry Houdini, punk-rock star Wendy O. Williams of the band the Plasmatics, and football legend Jim Otto. The artist's identification with athletes and performers indicates his interest in physical strength, endurance, and exaggerated performance. Barney, who draws from his own experience as an athlete, is perhaps best known for his extravagant films featuring bizarre characters involved in ritualized activities. The notational and cryptic pencil map, attached to a movable armature, links seemingly diverse personas and their physical actions with the graphic mark.

Gallery label from 2007.
Pencil with petroleum jelly on paper sewn with thread to prosthetic plastic
24 x 19 x 1" (61 x 48.3 x 2.5 cm)
Object number
© 2024 Matthew Barney
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].