I sat through the entire Cremaster Cycle last week. Five art films which present a new mythology seemingly based around the human reproductive sytem.

A sort of Lord of the Rings for the art world, it’s a bit of an adventure in a made up universe.

I often wondered why art films, the type of thing you’d see at the Tate, a naked man jumping up and down for 20 minutes or a brick at the bottom of the sea for 2 hours – why are these films always so badly shot?

Cremaster films

Surely artists of all people can see how shabby they generally look. Anyway, with Cremaster, Matthew Barney makes art films with sort of Ridley Scott production values.

Cremater One.
The goodyear blimps and the Idaho football stadium full of Busby Berkley dancing girls. The blimps are ovaries.

Cremaster films

Cremaster Two
Glaciers and beehives. Serial Killers and the secret of the universe. This was the most interesting one but the most uncomfortable to watch. It seemed to be about being a drone and about the destructive tendencies of human beings. There’s an amazing scene with a Bull being roped by cowboys on the Bonneville salt flats. We also se a glacier flow which seems to appear again in 5.

Cremaster Three
At Three and half hours it’s the longest part. The Chrysler building has a basement full of cars which bash each other to bits and a masonic initaite travels up the ‘shaft’ of an elevator. Then there are 5 tests.

Cremaster Four
The Isle of Man, two motorcycle-sidecar teams race about while an imp tap-dances through the floor of a pier – and so falls into the sea. Piers, or stems from bagpipes, or testicle-like sculptures feature in all the films.

Cremaster Five
By far the most restful and easy on the sense. This one has Ursula Andress at the opera house with glass testicles on her head singing sorrowfully for the loss of someone she loved. Meanwhile, in the basement, water nimphs help a man tie doves to his testicles with ribbons. What does it mean? Well it has something to do with testicles.



Tim‘ left this comment on 6 Dec 03

Vivienne, I believe the artist made a limited number of copies of the film on DVD, 10 or so. Sadly, the price tag is $1,000,000 per set. I suppose the artist sees their value in the same way we might value a great painting.
A visitor‘ left this comment on 5 Dec 03
Is it possible to buy all 5 of the Cremaster Art Films?Vivienne Sexton []


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