Cremaster 2 is
part of a five-film series that has occupied Barney as writer, director,
and actor since 1994. Although not one continuous narrative, the series
revolves around issues of masculine prowess and transcendence. In each of
the films, ritualized athletic endeavors and sexual transformations are
emphasized. Cremaster 2 concerns the life of convicted murderer Gary
Gilmore, who is also the subject of Norman Mailerís novel The
Executionerís Song. Episodes in the film present Harry Houdini (played
by Mailer), reputed by family legend to be the illegitimate grandfather of
Gilmore, as a perfect athlete capable of transcending physical limitations
and escaping from any space. On the other hand, Gilmoreís character
(played by Barney) attempts to compensate for physical limitations through
murder and, ultimately, through his own execution by firing squad. Barney
exploits extraordinary and eccentric landscapes in Canada and Utah to
advance plot and character. Aesthetically spectacular, with a compelling
sound track, the film is an hallucinatory narrative of real-life people.
Cremaster 2 is being shown in the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater Tuesdays through Fridays at 2:35 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:35 pm.
Matthew Barney, Cremaster 2, 1999 (still), high definition television in color, transferred to 35 mm, 79 minutes, 17 seconds
Matthew Barney’s work has been shown in many group exhibitions since 1990, including documenta IX, Kassel (1992); 45th Venice Biennale (1993); DASAMERICAS II, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and ARS ’95, Museum ofs Contemporary Art, Helsinki (1995); Jurassic Technologies Revenant, the 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996); Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon and “Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose” Gender Performance in Photography, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1997); and Wounds: Between Democracy and Redemption in Contemporary Art, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1998). Solo exhibitions of Barney’s work haves been presented regularly since 1988. He had his first solo show with Barbara Gladstone Gallery in 1991, and his work has since been presented at venues including Tate Gallery, London, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (1995); CapcMusée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, Kunsthalle Bern, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California (1996); Portikus Frankfurt am Main and Kunsthalle, Vienna (1997); Fundació “la Caixa,” Barcelona, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles (1998); and Kunstkanaal (television broadcast), Amsterdam (December 6, 1998) and Rotterdam (October 11, 1998). In 1993 Barney was awarded the Europa 2000 prize at the 45th Venice Biennale; in 1996 he received the Hugo Boss Award, presented by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Portikus Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Matthew Barney: Cremaster 5 (1997). Exhibition catalogue.
Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, and Museum für Gegenwartskunst der Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung und der Öffendlichen Kunstsammlung Basel, Switzerland. Matthew Barney: Cremaster 1 (1997). Exhibition catalogue.
Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany. Matthew Barney-Tony Oursles-Jeff Wall (1996). Exhibition catalogue, texts by Jerry Saltz and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve.
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York. Matthew Barney: Cremaster 4 (1995). Exhibition catalogue, text by James Lingwood.