Friday, May 07, 2004

Film Friday: Barney's Rubble

Is video artist Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle brilliant or bunk? So you don't have to, I sat through all SIX AND A HALF HOURS of Mr. Barney's epic, named after the muscle that regulates the position of the testicles. Verdict: Visually stunning, semantically empty, mind-numbingly boring.
The first half of [the 3-hour Cremaster 3] goes a little like this: A female corpse digs her way out of the basement of the Chrysler Building and is placed in the back seat of a Chrysler Imperial New Yorker in the lobby. Five Chrysler Crown Imperials begin battering the makeshift hearse, until is is reduced to the size of a large potato. Then, the condensed car is brought up to a dentist's office on the top floor and fitted into the Apprentice's mouth. This causes the Apprentice's intestines to fall out of his rectum. He then excretes his teeth, which melt and resolve into an ivory rod.

While this is jaw-droppingly inventive, it is also pretty darn well meaningless. Nancy Spector, who curated Barney's big Guggenheim exhibition, writes that, "In his work, Barney is transcribing a new post-Oedipal myth for our contemporary culture." But, frankly, that don't wash with me: I just watched a man put a car in his mouth and shit out his teeth.

This isn't a question of whether or not the emperor is wearing any clothes: Matthew Barney is decidedly post-clothes.
I rated the films The Square Root of Negative One Star. You can read my full review here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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