Wednesday, June 11, 2003

So here is my first question about Matthew Barney and his Cremaster Cycle: Where the hell does he get all that money? According to this website, "Barney spent about $1 million of his own money on each installment of the series, earning it back through the sale of sculptures that were used as props in the films, as well as books and installations derived from them." But where did he get the million dollars in the first place?

If I had a million dollars, I could do better than this.

Question number two: Who wrote the curatorial wall text for the Guggenheim show? Was it supposed to be funny? Because I could not stop laughing. Especially when they talked about the "angry bagpipes".

Question 3: What happened to the soundtrack? Jessica was really upset about the dull and shoddy camerawork, but I could have lived with that if the soundtrack had added even the slightest bit of interest and polish to the proceedings. I mean, say what you will (and I will) about the content of his art; you have to admit the man has a HUGE imagination. If he had taken the time and effort and brainpower that he put towards his amazing strange baroque images, and their glossy, expensive, high-tech execution, and put even a fraction of it towards designing equally extravagant sound effects and an orchestral score...I can't even imagine how much better his films could have been. Really. They could have been wonderful.

Question 5: What does it all mean? This question could have been incredibly fun to ask and to wonder about. Right now, the Guggenheim museum is crammed full of Barney's sculptures, photographs and drawings, and they are amazing. Each one is so full of encoded meaning, and so beautifully constructed and composed. They look like artifacts from an alien civiliation, and you want to ask: What is that tool for? Is that thing edible? What is that buckle supposed to buckle to? What sort of body would that costume fit on? Is that picture frame made out of butter? Vaseline? Human fat?

Unfortunately, Matthew Barney feels the need to answer this question, and his answer makes the whole thing so tedious and disappointing. Why so much interest in fetal reproductive development, Matthew Barney? Does Matthew Barney have a teeny tiny penis? Or is he a hermaphrodite?

And what kind of person buys a souvenir Cremaster sweatshirt?

One thing I liked about Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle at the Guggenheim:

That every object was manufactured specifically for the films. Even things that could easily have been appropriated from elsewhere--a shoe, a piano, a glass case, a picture frame--appeared to have been created from scratch to be part of the Cremaster universe. And they were created properly too...Actually machined, factory-assembled, press-molded. So they look like real objects from a real world.

Check out Jessica's Matthew Barney review here.


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