PRINT Summer 1999


As Matthew Barney completed the final cut of Cremaster 2, the second film in his epic quintent—episodes 1, 4, and 5 are behind him; no. 3 is still to come—art historian and critic Katy Siegel met with the artist in his New York studio for an early peek. Her preview anticipates the film’s July debut at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center.

IT’S MILDLY ANNOYING that so many reviews and articles about Matthew Barney’s work begin in a confessional mode, with a ritual throwing up of hands. (Aren’t critics supposed to use their expertise to help us engage difficult work?) But it’s also understandable. The “Cremaster” series layers biology and history, multiplies and divides; like any thick, opaque text, it drives the critic either to wax vaguely lyrical or to perform iconographic contortions, numerology, advanced exegesis. But beneath all these spectacular particulars (and with work like this, you

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