Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Order: Cremaster 3-- Jimmy's Perspective

I just watched the most pretentious, meaningless, hyped up piece of shit in the world of art film: Cremaster 3. I came in expecting something dense but visually interesting; a film with something to say. I was VERY, very wrong. Cremaster 3, being the only publicly released and mass produced part of Matthew Barney's 5 part series, may not be a representative sample of the series but given what I've seen though, I don't want to see the rest.

Cremaster 3 falls in among the most avant-garde of films in that it has no narrative, no dialog, no direct representation, and absolutely no use within this world or the next. When I think of bad art, I think of performance art: People dancing around in austere settings re-enacting birth through a barbed wire vagina, or lying flat on their back with props and allowing passers-by to use said props on them. This is just the film version. What I gathered of the meaning of this film (at least on one level) was that it is a representation of the rites of passage inside the Freemason Brotherhood or the struggle of the Entered Apprentice. Naturally, the star of the film must be the director, because he, in all his ego-maniacal pretentious glory, is the only one who can truly understand and enact these deep ideas. So, it being established that Barney must be the main attraction, he appears on camera preceded by oh so tacky titles, literally dressed in a green and pink kilt with a fluffy pink traditional Scottish head dress the size of Texas. Okay, maybe not Texas but Rhode Island at least. And, and, he has a bath towel stuffed in his mouth covered in blood. That, coupled with the amazing outfit he's wearing must be riddled with meaning. After being twirled on a platform by a few showgirls wearing nothing but classy shoes and symbolic pasties, Barney proceeds to climb, literally climb the walls of the Guggenheim in New York. For all the “deep thought” placed in the film, the ability to use this architectural marvel's ramps seemed beyond him. When finally reaching the second level, Scottish Barney and the viewer find a battle-of-the-bands occurring between two hardcore New York punk bands with the liberty-spiked fans and stereotypical accoutrement. Again, I stress that this is taking place in art-less Guggenheim. Somehow, this 'tard talked the curators into letting him using the museum, AND removing all the art from it. He does some more crap, climbs some more walls to the annoying ambient music until he reaches the top level where sculptor Richard Serra is tossing shovel-fulls of molten petroleum jelly against the walls of the museum, allowing it to run down the ramps. With this, Entered Apprentice climbs back down among the double amputees (yes, there is a legless woman with glass boots on one level), the rock bands, the Rockettes dressed as goats, and the bathing women with masonic pasties and the movie ends.

This was a thirty minute snippet of the worst three hours in film history. If you need a good laugh or background noise to shoot yourself to, go watch Cremaster 3. As for me, I'll soon be dropping out of college to dedicate my life to hunting down and maiming Matthew Barney for his crimes against humanity.


Anonymous said...

So what is good art?

Anonymous said...


Yes. What IS "good art"?

kate said...

That's a great question, and one I'm sorry I didn't see until just recently. The answer is that I wish I knew. For me, good art is simply a gut feeling. If I look at a painting, or hear music, or watch a film, or read a book, and I can feel the impact in my stomach, and it stays with me for days or weeks or years and I still get that feeling when I think about it...that is good art.

When I saw Cremaster 3, I felt sort of a mild nausea, which is not the same, and a general "WTF?" It went away fairly quickly and I didn't think of it again until someone told me that Matthew Barney is married to Bjork, which makes perfect sense to me.

Hope that helps. Thanks for reading.