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MASTER OF CEREMONY: MATTHEW BARNEY

This June Matthew Barney’s long anticipated Guggenheim exhibition opened—at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Organized to coincide with the debut of Cremaster 3, the final installment of Barney’s five-film epic, the survey unites the complete cycle of films and the corresponding sculptural work. Contributing editor Daniel Birnbaum looks beyond the scheduling flap to assess the artist’s nine-year effort.

All that the world most needs today is combined in the most seductive way in his art—the three great stimulants of exhausted people: brutality, artificiality, and innocence. . . .

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Case of Wagner (1895)

BAYREUTH CAN WAIT: Matthew Barney’s CREMASTER cycle is a Wagnerian vision for the new millennium. It started, in CREMASTER 4, 1994, with a tap-dancing freak—half glitzy performer, half goat—dressed in white. With great care, the soft hands of

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