Page 9 - 50.La Biennale di Venezia issue of World of Art Magazine
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Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, in   After a prologue steeped in Celtic mythology, the narrative begins under
        1995, which traveled to cpac Musée d’Art   the foundation of the partially constructed Chrysler Building. A female
        Contemporain, Bordeaux, and Kunsthalle   corpse is digging her way out of a grave. She is the undead Gary Gilmore,
        Bern in 1996. Sculpture, photographs,   protagonist of Cremaster 2. Carried out of her tomb by five boys, she is
                                          transported to the Chrysler Building’s lobby. The pallbearers deposit her
        and drawings from CREMASTER 1 were   body in the back seat of a Chrysler Imperial New Yorker. During this scene,
        exhibited along with the film at Kunsthalle   the camera cross-cuts to images of the Apprentice troweling cement over
        Wien, in 1997 in a show that traveled to   carved fuel-tank caps on the rear chassis of five 1967 Chrysler Crown
        the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel   Imperials, each bearing the insignia of a Cremaster episode. Packed with
        in 1998. CREMASTER 5 (1997), received   cement, these caps will serve as battering rams in a demolition derby
        its premiere at Portikus, Frankfurt, in   about to begin. The Apprentice then scales one of the building’s elevator
                                          shafts until reaching a car resting between floors. Using this cabin as a
        June 1997. The installations, sculptures,   mold, he pours cement to cast the perfect ashlar, a symmetrically hewn
        photographs, and drawings that comprise   stone that in Masonic ritual symbolizes moral rectitude. By circumventing
        the rest of the CREMASTER 5 projects   the carving process to create the perfect ashlar, the  Apprentice has
        were exhibited in a solo exhibition at the   cheated in his rites of passage and has sabotaged the construction of
        Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, in   the building.
                                          The ensuing scene in the Chrysler Building’s Cloud Club bar is a slapstick
        1997. CREMASTER 2 (1999) premiered   routine between bartender and  Apprentice.  Almost everything goes
        at  the Walker Art Center,  Minneapolis,   wrong; and these humorous mishaps result in the bartender playing his
        in July 1999, within a sculptural theater   environment like a bagpipe. The various accidents leading up to this are
        installation created by the artist. Acquired   caused by a woman (played by Aimee Mullins) in an adjoining room, who
        jointly by the Walker and the San Francisco   is cutting potatoes with blades on her shoes and stuffing them under the
        Museum of Modern Art, this installation   foundation of the bar until it is no longer level-a condition that echoes the
                                          corrupted state of the tower. This interlude is interrupted by a scene shift
        and film were exhibited by the latter   to a racetrack, where the Apprentice is accosted by hit men who break
        in 2000. The premiere of CREMASTER 3   all his teeth in retribution for his deception. Back in the Cloud Club, he
        (2002) took place at the Ziegfeld Theater,   is escorted to a dental office, where he is stripped of his clothes, under
        New York, under the auspices of Solomon   which he is wearing the costume of the First Degree Masonic initiate. An
        R. Guggenheim Museum. Matthew Barney:   apron of flesh obtrudes from his navel, referencing the lambskin aprons
        The Cremaster Cycle, an exhibition of   worn by Masonic candidates as a symbol for the state of innocence
                                          before the Fall.
        artwork from the entire cycle organized
        by the Guggenheim Museum, premiered   The Architect descends from his studio to confront his opponent in the
        at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne in June   dental suite. He fits the compressed remains of the post-demolition-derby
        2002  and  subsequently  traveled  to  the   Imperial New Yorker into the Apprentice’s mouth like a pair of dentures.   Guggenheim
        Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris   At that moment, the Apprentice’s intestines prolapse through his rectum.
        in October 2002. All five films of the cycle,   This ceremonious disembowelment symbolically separates him from his
                                          lower self. For his hubris he is simultaneously punished and redeemed
        along with the site-specific sculpture   by the Architect-whose own hubris, however, equally knows no bounds.
        CREMASTER Field (2002), were presented   Returning to his office, and anxious about the tower’s slow progress, the
        by Artangel at the Ritzy Cinema, London   Architect constructs two columns from large black plates that he lifts into
        in October-November 2002. In addition,   place with a chain hoist. These pillars allude to the columns, Jachin and
        the films have been seen in film festivals   Boaz, that Hiram Abiff designed for the Temple of Solomon. Meanwhile,
        worldwide including Slamdance Film   the Apprentice escapes and climbs to the topmost region of the tower.
                                          The Architect uses his columns as a ladder and climbs through an oculus
        Festival, Park City, Utah (1998); 27th   in the ceiling.  The next scene describes an apotheosis, the  Architect
        International Film Festival, Rotterdam   becoming one with his design, as the tower itself is transformed into a
        (1998); Nat Film Festival, Copenhagen   maypole. At this point in the narrative the film pauses for a choric interlude,
        (1998); Images Festival of Independent Film   which rehearses the initiation rites of the Masonic fraternity through
        and Video, Toronto (1998, 2000, and 2002);   allegorical representations of the five-part Cremaster cycle, all in the
        International Film Festival, Cleveland   guise of a game staged in the Guggenheim Museum. Called “The Order,”
                                          this competition features a fantastical incarnation of the Apprentice as
        (1999); 23rd Goteborg Film Festival,   its sole contestant, who must overcome obstacles on each level of the
        Sweden  (2000);  Berlin  International  Film   museum’s spiraling rotunda. In the ensuing scene, which returns to the
        Festival (2000); The Hamptons International   top of the Chrysler Building, the Architect is murdered by the Apprentice,
        Film Festival (2001); IFlstanbul: 1st AFM/  who is then killed by the tower. Both men have been punished for their
        International Independent Film Festival,   hubris and the building will remain unfinished. The film ends with a coda
        Istanbul (2002); and Sundance Film   that links it to Cremaster 4. This is the legend of Fionn MacCumhail, which
                                          describes the formation of the Isle of Man, where the next installment of
        Festival, Park City, Utah (2003).  the Cremaster cycle will take place.

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