Matthew Barney CREMASTER 3

The Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago in cooperation with the Collectors Forum at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago present Matthew Barney CREMASTER 3 Members reception and preview screening at The Art Institute of Chicago?s Gene Siskel Film Center Sunday 15 September 2002. Matthew Barney is arguably the most important American artist to emerge in the 1990s. Critic Michael Kimmelman wrote in The New York Times last year: “Barney is ultimately the most important artist of his generation because his imagination is so big.” Barney considers himself to be a sculptor, although his work takes the form of photographs, films, books, live performances, and objects. For the artist, no media is subsidiary to any other; all are expressions in different forms of the same ideas. Meaning in Matthew Barney’s work is elusive, to say the least. His project is to layer a densely veiled autobiography with references to sports, fashion, gender, biology, and American history along with an eccentric, intensely private, phantasmagoric symbolism. His work always expresses a profound corporeality, and often requires the artist’s unrivaled physical exertion. The CREMASTER series, for which the artist is best known, is an epic project in five parts and realized in a variety of media. Named for the muscle that raises or lowers the testicles in response to temperature, the series is an elaborately allegorized, primal drama of sexing, or, of differentiation. Made out of sequence by design, the project began with CREMASTER 4 (1995, filmed on The Isle of Man), followed by CREMASTER 1 (1996, filmed in Boise, Idaho), CREMASTER 5 (1997, filmed in Budapest), CREMASTER 2 (1999, filmed in and around The Great Salt Lake) and, most recently, CREAMSTER 3 (2002, filmed in Manhattan with the Chrysler building as its architectural protagonist). When considered in numerical sequence, the locations of the various films begins to point to a biographical reading: the series moves from west to east, connecting Barney’s birthplace (Boise) to the birthplace of one of his principal heroes and influences, Harry Houdini (Budapest). CREMASTER 3 (2002), the final installment in the CREMASTER series, is a distillation of the artist’s major themes and signature aesthetic devices, filtered through an elaborate symbolic matrix involving Freemasonry, Celtic lore, and Art Deco desires. Much of the action takes place in two New York landmarks, the Chrysler Building and the Guggenheim Museum, as well as at the Saratoga Racetrack (upstate NY), the Giant’s Causeway (Ireland) and Fingal’s cave (the Scottish Isle of Staffa). Barney plays the Entered Apprentice and his opponents include the Order of the Rainbow for Girls (who look a lot like the Rockettes), Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law (two New York Hardcore bands), Aimee Mullins, and Richard Serra. Molten Vaseline, dental surgery, a demolition derby by vintage Chrysler Imperial New Yorker cars and a gorgeous creature who is half-cheetah/half woman all figure in this latest edition of Matthew Barney’s fever dream. With the CREMASTER series, Barney’s ambition is to invent a new, wholly personal, visual vocabulary. Examined over time, these works seem to structure an alphabet, then, perhaps, a new visual language entirely of the artist’s own making.

Exhibition
The Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Fi
Members – $40

11:30AM – 12:00PM – Dining
The Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Fi

12:00PM – 12:30PM – Lecture
The Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Fi

12:30PM – 02:00PM – Performance
The Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Fi