The Broken Body: Regression

The psychic reversion to childhood desires. When normally functioning desire meets with powerful external obstacles, which prevent satisfaction of those desires, the subject sometimes regresses to an earlier phase in psychosexual development. Example: a normally functioning woman is dumped by her boyfriend and starts over-eating (thus regressing to the oral phase). Regression can result either in neurosis (if accompanied by repression) or in perversion. In our example, the neurotic begins over-eating; the pervert gives up men and becomes a lesbian (a sexual identity that Freud saw as perversion, though many have since critiqued him on this point).
Mike Kelly, Ahh Youth..., 1991.











Mike Kelley, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, 1987.





















Paul McCarthy, Santa Chocolate Shop, 1997.











Paul McCarthy, Pinocchio Pipenose Dilemma, 1994.
Paul McCarthy, Painter, 2007.











Paul McCarthy, Tree, 2014 on the Place Vendome.











Cremaster Cycle 1994 - 2002
culminating in a major museum exhibition organized by Nancy Spector of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which traveled to the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the Musée d'art Moderne in Paris from 2002 - 2003
Matthew Barney as The Entered Apprentice, 2011.






















"Biological, social and mythological foundations of selfhood intersect and reflect one another." - David Joselit
Matthew Barney as the Loughton Candidate, Cremaster 4, 1994.











Cremaster = the muscle that controls the contraction and relaxation of the testes in response to different physical or psychological stimuli like increased temperature or fear


Refers to the Cycle's consideration of early gonad development of the fetus when gender has not been externally determined, a moment of pure potential for Barney
In the first several weeks of life, the fetus has no anatomical or hormonal sex (sex can only be determined by genes)
10th week - external genitalia begins to differentiate
15th week - first spermatognia and ovarian follicles form
28th week - testes descend out of the body cavity
cremaster muscle depicted in red











Just to add an air of mystique (a.k.a. confusion) to the project, the narrative was not made in sequential order
Cremaster 4
Cremaster 1
(the most ascended or undifferentiated state)
Cremaster 5
(the most descended or differentiated state)
Cremaster 2
Cremaster 3












Cremaster 1
Setting: state of equilibrium imagined as a musical revue performed by the Rockettes on the blue Astroturf Bronco stadium in Barney's hometown, Boise, Idaho.
Characters: two Goodyear blimps, air hostesses, Goodyear.
Synopsis: Goodyear plays with grapes in each blimp, forming them into a recurring symbol of cell division






















Cremaster 2
Setting: conflict is introduced into the system and the system resists partition.
Characters: Gary Gilmore, Johnny Cash, Harry Houdini, Baby Fae La Foe, the Rocky Mountains
Synopsis: Gary Gilmore kills a Mormon gas station attendant in the quest to reunite with his girlfriend, Nicole Baker. Tried and convicted, Johnny Cash covered in bees calls Gilmore before his execution while death metal drums beat in the background. Gilmore's execution is represented as a prison rodeo with the landscape standing witness.






















Cremaster 3
Setting: a contest of states is represented by the construction of the Chrysler building which is host to internal struggle between the Architect and the Apprentice. The Apprentice will resolve the conflict in a game set at the Gugenheim Museum.
Characters: Chrysler Building, Hiram Abiff (Solomon's Temple), The Entered Apprentice, undead Gary Gilmore, Chrysler Imperials,
Synopsis: Set in New York City and narrates the construction of the Chrysler Building, which is in itself a character - host to inner, antagonistic forces at play for access to the process of (spiritual) transcendence. These factions find form in the struggle between Hiram Abiff or the Architect (played by Richard Serra), and the Entered Apprentice (played by Barney), who are both working on the building. They are reenacting the Masonic myth of Hiram Abiff, purported architect of Solomon's Temple, who possessed knowledge of the mysteries of the universe. The murder and resurrection of Abiff are reenacted during Masonic initiation rites as the culmination of a three-part process through which a candidate progresses from the first degree of Entered Apprenticeship to the third of Master Mason.























Cremaster 4
Setting: descenscion begins on the Isle of Man
Characters: Ascending Hack, Descending Hack, Loughton Ram, Faeries
Synopsis: a motorcycle race along the perimeter of the Isle of Man is prepared for, and ensues, while the Loughton Candidate tap dances through the floor and into a gelatinous tunnel that leads him to the sea. Meanwhile, ambiguously gendered Faeries picnic.





















Cremaster 5
Setting: total descenscion imagined as tragic love story set in the Budapest opera house and environs
Characters: The Queen of Chain, Fudor Sprites, Harry Houdini
Synopsis: as the Queen sings, her mind wanders into reflection of Her Magician as he prepares to jump from a snow covered bridge into the waters of the Danube, chained as he seeks transcendence.





















Cremaster 3 dvd in exhibition case
Each film in The Cremaster Cycle released in an edition of ten.
In 2007, Cremaster 2 sold for $571,000 at the Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale.


Other Barney auction results