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Matthew Barney, Back in the Game

The hit, 45 years ago, shook up the world of football. Then, just as quickly, people moved on. But not Darryl Stingley, the receiver for the New England Patriots who bore the head-on charge by Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders. Stingley was rendered quadriplegic. Tatum, a defender known as “The Assassin,” notoriously never apologized.

The artist Matthew Barney was an 11-year-old in Idaho at the time and remembers the incident from constant slow-motion replays on television. He was just getting into the sport seriously himself, and the Tatum-Stingley collision, though shocking, didn’t stop him. Violence was inculcated in football training, he recalled. It was also addictive.

“That was my gateway, feeling that blow to the head and what that feels like in your body,” Barney said in an interview in March while editing “Secondary,” his new five-channel video installation that takes that 1978 event as its point of departure. He relished practice drills where he and other boys were ordered to slam into each other at top speed, he said. “You’d walk away, and you’re seeing stars.”...

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