Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cremaster Cycle

This weekend, I went to see the Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney at the Dobie Theatre in Austin. The cycle consists of 5 films that total about 7 hours and is mostly about testicals. Like the art nerd that I am, I took diligent notes during the show. I thought I’d share my thoughts on each and some of my crazy notes.

Cremaster 1 alternated between 2 blimps and a football field with dancers on it. Inside the blimps were tables with a lady underneath. The lady would arrange grapes into patterns and the dancers on the football fields would make the same formations.

Crazy notes taken during film:

“White tablecloth, testicle looking sculpture, green grapes”

“Giant lady under table digs hole in table and gets grapes”

“Grapes fall out of shoe”

Cremaster 2 was my least favorite. It had a ton of different stuff going on and none of it seemed to connect. First there was a couple and an older lady at a table. Then there was sex with lots of bees. When the guy pulled out, the end of his penis was a beehive. Then there a crazy drummer covered in bees and 2 Ford Mustangs connected with a tunnel. Then a guy got shot and some cowboys dance. It was weird.

Some of my favorite notes from this one include:

“Woman puts yellow powder on inner thigh”

“Beehive in end of sex penis”

“Man in car has red swollen eyes”

“Dancing man and woman in cowboy hats around saddle in old walled room”

“Stuffed goat inside giant log cabin”

“Houdini becomes part of cage”

Cremaster 3 is the only one that I had seen part of before. In grad school, we watched a section where Matthew Barney must get through different obstacles to get to the top of the Guggenheim. I really liked the part I had seen so this is the reason why I wanted to watch the whole thing. This film actually wound up being my second to least favorite. The whole film was 2 main sections: ascending the Chrysler building and ascending the Guggenheim and a small section involving cave men.

Weird notes:

“Giant caveman east mice and has gold finger”

“Cars crash into car with dirt lady inside”

“Silver dressed lady in room with potatoes and cat”

“Wrinkled rubber tube comes out of his butt, teeth and goo flow from tube”

“Serra throws melted Vaseline”

Cremaster 4 was my favorite of the 5. It was also the first one of the cycle that he made. It flashed between Mathew Barney dressed as a satyr tap dancing his way through a building on the end of a pier and a drag race between two phallic shaped motorcycles with sidecar. Barney taps so much in one spot that he creates a whole in the floor and falls through into the ocean. Then he finds himself in a narrow goo filled tunnel that he must crawl through. The film ends with a shot of his crotch with clips attached the area where his balls should be. The clips have ribbons coming off them that are attached to each of the motorcycles.

Favorite notes from this one include:

“Slime balls come out of racing outfits”

“Wheel with balls goes onto blue racer”

“Barney buried in white pearls then white goo”

“Crotch with clamps and strings”

Cremaster 5 consisted of an opera singer and under water fairy nymphs. There was also Matthew Barney with another crotch prosthetic. At the end, there were ribbons attached to his crotch and birds flying away with the other ends. There was also a guy on a horse that jumped off a bridge in the end.

Crazy notes:

“Red guards uncover pink ribbon man’s face”

“Black cloak male is nude with large white belt thing”

“Vaginal hole under opera sings leads to hole”

“Nude man, no penis, only balls, petals on legs”

“Pink ribbon guy gets to end of stage and melts”

“Underwater fairies kiss man and put ball in his mouth”

“Goo from opera lady’s mouth drips into pool”

Anyway, I’m really glad I got to see the whole thing. I feel like a more complete artist now.


  1. I think I only watched the 4th one. Why do you like his work so much?

  2. I don't particularly love his work. I've just heard so much about it, I felt like I had to see the whole thing.