In Defence of Matthew Barney and The Cremaster Cycle

September 13, 2019 posted by


Ah, Matthew… the art world loves you and everybody else hates you. The only other YouTube video I’ve seen on here is, um, (about Matthew Barney), there might be others, but I’ve only come across one, is just this dude, like, ripping Matthew to shreds in a little video series. I’ll probably link it below, it’s quite good actually, and honestly like fair enough, um I think I first encountered, The Cremaster Cycle because I was just kind of in awe of the fact that he sold it for like a million dollars that’s like one DVD for a million dollars, and I was like “you can’t just do that!” By the way, thank you to whoever it was that like leaked all of The Cremaster Cycle and Drawing Restraint onto YouTube and Pirate Bay and whatever, like, thank you. I don’t know how that happened, but whoever did that, I appreciate it. But yeah, so I originally kind of hated Matthew Barney, but like found him funny at the same time, it was just kind of outrage that, like, he made these kind of really, I guess stupid – a lot of people have called them stupid and vapid and like “they’re not really saying anything” – and at first I guess I was kind of like that, especially after the first two, I really dislike Cremaster 2. But then I sort of got into it, and I feel like the themes – A criticism that I hear a lot is that he’s talking about, you know, sexuality and gender without really saying anything and on the contrary I kind of felt that What he was saying was kind of profound in a way that I haven’t seen before. I’ve never seen sexual dimorphism as tragedy before, and I find that really interesting and I also find it really interesting that he sort of represents this longing for that state of pure potentiality before sexual differentiation, because I sort of also feel that way. That sort of non-traditional gender dysphoria that’s hard to talk about or express. And I feel like that was the first time that I really saw it expressed. You know, I know YouTube hates non-binaries or whatever, and I guess that’s what I am, so I won’t really talk about it here ’cause – I mean maybe one of my, like, 12 followers, or I guess they call them subscribers on here, will unfollow me for that, but… It was interesting to, I guess, see that represented, in however abstract a form, you know. I don’t want to admit it, but I did relate to the fucking Loughton Candidate. Yeah, that was the the sheep dude who couldn’t grow horns. Yeah. I’m not proud that I like this series, okay, and it happened over time. At first I just thought it was funny, and then I was like “You know what? Fuck.” “I’m relating to it!” Yeah, and since then I’ve started to like all Matthew Barney’s stuff. I liked Drawing Restraint. I haven’t seen River of Fundament, and I’m kind of kicking myself about that because I found out that in my hometown, which I won’t say on here because my one hater will possibly find me and kill me for talking about Peter, Greenaway, but apparently they actually screened River of Fundament here about 3 years ago. Which wouldn’t have mattered to me, ’cause I didn’t know who the fuck Matthew Barney was at that point so I couldn’t have gone to see it or anything, but still! It’s so disappointing, because I can’t find anyway to watch it now and I’m like “It was screened here!” “I could have gone to see it legally!” God damn it Matthew, just make your work accessible, please! Yeah, oh wait. This is supposed to be in defense of Matthew Barney and I’m like ranting against him. I’ll just have a quick word about the series as a whole, and that is W H O L E I’m sure some people could describe it as a “hole” in many ways Matthew seems to be obsessed with a certain hole, I think some of you may have noticed that throughout his career. I ound that scene in Cremaster 4 quite funny, where he’s like crawling through that Vaseline-filled tunnel and I’m like “Matthew, aren’t people gonna use this as the perfect visual metaphor for saying that you’re too far up your own ass?” But, um, maybe he did that consciously. I just found that really funny. I feel like the series trajectory as a whole is pretty obviously, you know, it starts off with like “potential Matthew” as Goodyear in this sort of happy, surreal, calm, pastel… surreal but sort of pleasant environment and then sort of gets darker and ends in his death. I think that’s kind of, it has that kind of tragic trajectory. And, you know, I thought it was an interesting concept. And I really, genuinely liked the last three Cremaster films. Cremaster 1 & 2, I’m not a huge fan of, especially 2. I just hate it, and with a lot of the films I’ve seen criticisms that are like: “I just hate everything about this, like he makes me uncomfortable, you know, like the pacing, the music, the fucking slowness of it” And admittedly, a few of them I have just watched like on 2x speed. And when I’ve shared it to people I’ve been like “Let’s watch this double the speed because, you’re just gonna fall asleep.” I can’t imagine watching, like, Drawing Restraint normal speed, just the whole thing, because it’s so fucking slow, like, Matthew, please! Your movies could be watchable if they weren’t THAT slow, but, aside from the unbearable slowness, I think especially the last three movies we’re actually really interesting creative visions and aesthetically really beautiful and striking and I like the characters that he creates like the Diva and the Giant in the last one and I love that dude in The Order. It’s just Matthew in that pink fluffy hat climbing the Guggenheim And I mean that whole, you know, the third one, it just feels like a video game. Again, I feel like they are all quite interesting once you get past how pretentious and wanky it is that he sold them for like a huge amount of money and that, you know, no one talks about how, I mean potentially funny they are! I feel like The Order, which is one of the few accessible things of his that have been released on DVD for a normal price, actually my library has The Order, you know My library is great, though. They have like they have the Drawing Restraint 9 soundtrack, like I don’t know who got that, but thank you, whoever is supplying my library with the good shit. But yeah, like, I think that What was I even saying? Oh yeah, no, I think The Order should become kind of like the Rocky Horror Picture Show in that like, all the long pauses and shit like that should just have like things that a crowd yells out. Cause I think it’s like potentially quite a fun little, you know… dude climbs the Guggenheim and there’s all these different levels with weird shit on them, and there’s the – There’s the cat lady who bites him and there’s the screamo bands, and there’s the… I don’t know, that dude who’s throwing Vaseline… Matthews Vaseline fetish… it is never not funny to me. I feel like I’ll make a series just talking about each Cremaster movie in brief, maybe. Or maybe just about a couple of them. Yeah, but in short: Matthew Barney, will you marry me? Actually, I probably don’t want that anymore, I mean –

8 Comments

8 Replies to “In Defence of Matthew Barney and The Cremaster Cycle”

  1. TheRodT says:

    I love it

  2. MASON BUCHKO says:

    u r cool

  3. maja topic says:

    I love that like one of the only people who have made a commentary on this are Aussie uesss we may live on an island but know our shit

  4. zaphod says:

    ahh a fellow aussie by the way i love peter greenaway hes da man i bought the order on a whim years ago felt lukewarm then went full barney michael bay is my idea of pretentious.

  5. zaphod says:

    son of sinema here as meshes of the afternoon took a turn down the lost highway into the void of the holy mountain.i walked like a crazy horse and found my bedsitting room.

  6. your average youtube commenter says:

    youre a pretty person

  7. myrrh curie says:

    Yeh…sitting for hours on end at the museum… It's torture no matter what you're watching 🤣😂

  8. lilybear says:

    If confirmation occurs that Barney is a pedo, will you retract your appreciation of him?
    With respect, you are perhaps naive to understand the symbology of what you are watching. It was intentionally leaked because no venue could possibly justify advocating such content.
    Think about it. This is laundering and nefarious culture hidden in plain sight.

    "youtube hate non binaries" what world do you live in? Please wake up.

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