- Series: Cremaster (Book 3)
- Paperback: 204 pages
- Publisher: Guggenheim Museum; First Edition edition (May 15, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0892072539
- ISBN-13: 978-0892072538
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 11.6 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,515,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Matthew Barney: CREMASTER 3 Paperback – May 2, 2002
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From Library Journal
Celebrated as a sculptor and performance artist, Barney has caused quite a stir in the contemporary art world with his Cremaster films. The cycle of films is a fevered, sometimes delirious, and often beautiful exploration of the competing forces of artistic creation and destruction. Cremaster 3 is the largest and final film of the five-part series begun in 1994 and shot out of sequence. Largely textless and filled with images of corpselike racehorses, dental torture, and a half-woman, half-cheetah figure, the scenes often take on a nightmarish quality. Shifting from New York sets to outdoor settings in Ireland and Scotland, Barney weaves concepts of mythology, architecture, and freemasonry together with the wool suits and hats of a 1930s gangster movie. The book is published in conjunction with an exhibition of films, stills, and photographs organized by the Guggenheim Museum and traveling to Germany and France in 2002-03. While this book of film stills and photographs cannot capture the same drama and emotion as the moving film, it nevertheless presents the artist's ideas in a whirling tapestry of extreme beauty, violence, horror, and compelling narrative. Recommended for libraries with strong contemporary art collections.
Kraig A. Binkowski, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Matthew Barney was born in San Francisco in 1967. When he was 6, he moved with his family to Boise, Idaho, and stayed there with his father after his parents divorced and his mother, an abstract painter, moved to New York City. He contemplated playing college football, but ended up paying his way through an undergraduate degree from Yale University by modeling professionally. Upon entering the contemporary art scene in the early 90s, Barney achieved almost instant success and controversy. Since then, he has exhibited all over the world, with solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; and the Kunsthalle Wien. His work has been included in international group shows, including Documenta11, the Whitney Biennial, and the Carnegie International. Barney was awarded the Europa 2000 Prize at the 1993 Venice Biennale and the 1996 Hugo Boss Prize. He currently lives and works in New York.
Top customer reviews
Matthew Barney's oft-celebrated and yet little-seen Cremaster series of films was finally completed with the release of Cremaster 3 in 2002. As a celebration, the Guggenheim mounted a showing of stills from the five films in early 2003. This is the book printed as a companion to the showing. As should be expected from both Barney and the Guggenheim, it's a sumptuous release.
The vast majority of the book is nothing but photographs, though a few pieces of text flit in and out. The movies have an almost dadaesque sense of both being rooted in a place and being dislocated; the book, too, bears that same mark. You know, for example, you're looking at a closeup of a Chrysler hood ornament. But why? And what's that in the reflection, so very distorted? What's Barney's fascination with the Chrysler Building, anyway? Why is Aimee Mullins even more gorgeous when made up to look like a leopard?
Of course, none of these questions actually get answered. But the films, and this book, are about visual experience anyway, unless you want to spend hundreds of hours dissecting the intricate layers of symbolism with which every second of the films are invested. In which case, go to it, and let us know what you find; for most folks, I think the simple beauty of the images will be enough. Either way, it's certainly worth a look. ****
Many reviews--just browse the Amazon universe--represent the world in dialectical oppositions. Out here we have mostly the following: good Barney/bad Barney; sexist Barney/not-sexist Barney; trash Barney/intellectual Barney. Whatever! We wish it were so simple. No learning possiblein a world where an authoritative voice is deferred to when assigning a positive or negative value to an event or idea or individual. A work of art isn't "bad" because it presents sexist, mysogynistic, repulsive, scrumptious, beautiful, ugly, erotic, pornographic, cannibalistic, testicular, white, racist, nationalistic images/symbols/myths all-together and at once both as aesthetic and poetic--as form and content. We must ask: Who is the art for? What is it supposed to do? Why choose the specific genre? At what is it directed?
Maybe we can begin accepting that we need art that refuses simple consumption because work that refuses simple consumption refuses to fortify the dominant and oppressive ideological structures in society. So, Barney's public masturbation is a positive act. Particularly funny are the reviewers who discuss the art space of the Gugg in NY more than Barney's work documented in that space.
That said: I find the Cremaster Cycle pleasing, troubling, and extremely boring at different times. I think it is beautiful. And I find it technically wonderful. Anyways... Better to wallow in complexity than to knee-jerk my way towards over-generalization.
But, see it for yourself and then discuss your cremaster response publicly. That's the point. Cremaster 3 (and 1 & 2) is being screened around the country right now; some places are showing the entire cycle. Art should intervene and disrupt. And if it cannot irrupt the public sphere, it should erupt all over it.