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The Cremaster Cycle


Photos: Michael James O'Brien
Courtesy Gladstone Gallery

Cremaster 1 (1995)
The Cremaster Cycle
Special one week engagement! Matthew Barney, 1994-2002
Fri, Feb 4, 2011
Sat, Feb 5, 2011
Sun, Feb 6, 2011
Mon, Feb 7, 2011
Tue, Feb 8, 2011
Wed, Feb 9, 2011
Thu, Feb 10, 2011
"The most important American artist of his generation."—Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times

An epic five-part masterwork, The Cremaster Cycle is a celebrated evocation of the creative process by noted sculptor and performance artist Matthew Barney. The series is not now, nor will it ever be, available on DVD. The only place it can be seen is on screen in theaters. It was last shown in Columbus in 2003, when it screened it in five sold-out shows at the Wexner Center.

The five films span genres, locales, and obsessions, encompassing (among much else) a musical revue in a football stadium, a lyric opera in Budapest, a gothic Western, a motor cycle race, and the Masonic secrets of the Chrysler Building. Although numbered 1 to 5, the films were not completed in that chronological order, and each is a completely realized, independent work. Seeing them together and in numerical order reveals that they trace a path from west to east and a metaphorical journey toward a fully developed form.

The Cremaster Cycle is screening at the Gateway Film Center as three programs with three separate admissions, or as a complete marathon presentations of all five parts with a special discounted ticket. See full details on the films in each of the programs below. For showtimes, visit the Gateway Film Center website.

Cremaster 1 & 2
In Cremaster 1 (1996), a platinum starlet with twin hovering Goodyear blimps builds geometric patterns from red and green grapes, mirrored by Busby Berkeley-style showgirls on the blue Astroturf field below. Cremaster 2 (1999), a hallucinatory work featuring writer/director Barney as Western outlaw Gary Gilmore and Norman Mailer as Harry Houdini, is an eclectic mix of gender-bending sexuality and athleticism, obscure historical references, high fashion, remote locations, lush music, and a range of category-defying myth-making imagery. (119 mins., 35mm)

Cremaster 3
An epic journey that infuses Celtic mysticism with 20th-century modernism and blockbuster bombast with hermetic aesthetics, Cremaster 3 (2002) was shot at two architectural landmarks in New York City—the iconic skyscraper of the Chrysler Building and Frank Lloyd Wright's circular Guggenheim Museum—along with locales in Ireland, Scotland, and upstate New York. The film follows "The Entered Apprentice" (Barney) as he endures torture and travails in order to ascend each building. Peopled by ogres and gangsters, chorus girls and freemasons, Barney's bizarre universe is never less than stunning. Sculptor Richard Serra, hardcore bands Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law, and athlete Aimee Mullins also make appearances. (182 mins., with a 5 minute intermission, 35mm)

Cremaster 4 & 5
In Cremaster 4 (1994), a flame-haired satyr (filmmaker Barney) slowly taps his way through an eroding floor into the sea, as competing color-coded motorcycle teams set off in opposite directions to circle the Isle of Man. In Cremaster 5 (1997), Ursula Andress (Dr. No) stars as the Queen of Chain, an audience of one for whom a lush operatic spectacle is performed by the Budapest Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra within a grand 19th-century opera house, accompanied by faeries, a magician (Barney), various attendants of unspecified gender and species, and a bevy of live pigeons. (97 mins., 35mm)

Read the full image credits at the link below.
1 and 2) Matthew Barney
Production still
©1995 Matthew Barney
Photo: Michael James O'Brien
Courtesy Gladstone Gallery

3) Matthew Barney
Production still
©1994 Matthew Barney
Photo: Michael James O'Brien
Courtesy Gladstone Gallery
PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

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