Screenings
Part of the series The Cremaster Cycle

Cremaster 5 & Cremaster 2

Wednesday Apr 22, 2015 7:30 PM This is a past program

The Hammer presents Matthew Barney’s epic masterwork The Cremaster Cycle, screened in its entirety over the course of several days. With near cult status in the art world, The Cremaster Cycle is an evocation of the creative process by Barney, a sculptor and performance artist and arguably one of the most important artists of his generation. Visually arresting and often disturbing, The Cremaster Cycle is a grand mixture of history, mythology, and autobiography exploring the creation of form. Each of the five films is projected on 35mm film, and presented in the order of its making. 

Cremaster 5 (1997)

When total descension is finally achieved, it is envisioned as a tragic love story told in the form of a lyric opera and set in the romantic dreamscape of late-nineteenth-Century Budapest. Biological metaphors are replaced by emotional states - longing and despair - that become musical leitmotivs in the orchestral score. The opera's primary characters - the Queen of Chain (played by Ursula Andress) and her Diva, Magician, and Giant (all played by Barney) - enact collectively the final release promised by the project as a whole. (55 min.)

Cremaster 2 (1999)

A gothic Western that introduces conflict into the system. On the biological level it corresponds to the phase of fetal development during which sexual division begins. In Barney's abstraction, the system resists partition and tries to remain in the state of equilibrium imagined in Cremaster 1. Cremaster 2 embodies this regressive impulse through its looping narrative, shifting from 1977, the year of Gary Gilmore's execution, to 1893 when Harry Houdini, who may have been Gilmore's grandfather, performed at the World's Columbian Exposition. Features Norman Mailer as Houdini and Matthew Barney as Gilmore. (79 min.)

The Cremaster Cycle is screened in conjunction with the West Coast premiere of River of Fundament: A Film by Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday, April 25, presented by Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA). Click here for tickets and more information.

All Hammer public programs are free and made possible by a major gift from the Dream Fund at UCLA. 

Generous support is also provided by Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, an anonymous donor, and all Hammer members. 

The Hammer’s digital presentation of its public programs is made possible by the Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Foundation.