Segments in this Video

Images From Cremaster 4 and Cremaster 1 (05:50)


A red-wigged man discovers several ears on his scalp. Matthew Barney discusses his view of the world and of art. Barney’s created images often include testicle imagery.

Image Juxtaposition and Metaphor (05:38)

Barney juxtaposes images of exotic women and a sports field on which formations appear. The reproductive system is a metaphor in two of the Cremaster Cycles.

Cremaster 2 (04:31)

The organizing principle for Cremaster 2 is Mailer's "The Executioner's Song." Men ride bulls in a surreal arena. Barney's associate describes the exhaustive preparation for one of Barney's projects.

Cremaster 3 (04:23)

Barney and his crew prepare for a large project. Barney's projects are evolutionary, starting from a sketch and developing in different directions. Vaseline is a key ingredient in Cremaster 3.

From Film to Museum (04:32)

Barney's installations are filmed as a way of testing the final results. Moving images can function as texts to generate forms. Barney's crew transports a large object from Cremaster 2 to the museum.

Cremaster 2 and Gary Gilmore (04:36)

Barney creates a project around Gary Gilmore. The scene is a gas station. Cameras pan the scene from many angles. Barney talks about Gary and his girlfriend. Both of them owned 1966 Mustangs.

Cheetah Legs (04:57)

A female plays four very different roles. In each role she wears different legs such as clear plastic, carbon fiber, and hooves. A man's face becomes bloodied by a kiss.

Heroic Journey (03:33)

Nancy Spector, Guggenheim curator, discusses Matthew Barney's work. She sees a heroic journey in the narrative motif of his work. Spector compares Houdini and Barney.

Cremaster 5 (06:14)

Barney's make-up artist discusses the make-up challenges of Cremaster 5. The character's sexuality is blurred. Testicle imagery appears in the ugly giant's "quest."

Moving Sculpture and Music (06:14)

Guggenheim curator, Nancy Spector, describes Barney's work as moving sculpture. Jonathan Bepler, composer, says that the music is another actor in a Barney film. Music plays different roles.

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The Body as a Matrix: Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle

Part of the Series : Video Artists, Video Art: Film at the Fringes of Experience
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.92
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



With the five-part Cremaster Cycle of films, multi-award-winning artist Matthew Barney invented a densely layered and interconnected sculptural world that surreally combines sports, biology, sexuality, history, and mythology as it organically evolves. In this program, Barney, Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector, and others deconstruct the Cycle’s filming and subsequent translation into sculptural installations. The locations, characters, and symbols that organize the Cycle films; the Cycle installations as spatial content carriers and extensions of the performances; and objectification of the body and undifferentiated sexuality are addressed, as are the intricacies of costuming, makeup, and sculpting with Barney’s signature materials: plastic, metal, and Vaseline. Contains nudity and mature themes. (53 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL33232

ISBN: 978-0-7365-9169-0

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.