The Archival Impulse
"Bryant's work plays with histories and questions whether we can indeed shed the past, like an old skin that no longer fits or pleases, and remake it from a new vantage point, a project that risks omission, fabrication, distortion, or utter reversal."
- Christine Schmidt
Ernest Arthur Bryantt III, Untitled, 2007.





















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.





















Kate Millet Sexual Politics
Why We Need Sexual Politics
Joan Diddion's review of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song
Wooster Group's, The Town Hall Affair
Alice Neel, Kate Millett, 1970.











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.











"Art historian, Hal Foster's 2004 essay An Archival Impulse defined archival art as a genre that 'make[s] historical information, often lost or displaced, physically present. To this end [archival artists] elaborate on the found image, object, and favor the installation format.' Whether this happens in the form of projects dealing with real archival material or artworks in which artists use the archive as a theme (sometimes even inventing material), the idea of the archive continues to be an undeniable force and organizing structure in exhibitions today." - Artspace
Chris Burden, Urban Light, 2008.











Chris Burden, LAPD Uniforms, 1993.











Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document, 1973 - 1979


Deals with the mother's relationship with her son from birth until he enters school / the public realm

  • Visual images of the mother and child emphatically avoided
  • Subjective elements like diary entries are juxtaposed with distant, quasi-scientific elements like diagrams
  • Articulates the mother's feelings of possession and loss
  • Importantly, focuses on the invisible work of motherhood
The objects stand for the mother's "memorabilia" and how she makes sense of the gradual separation from her child
Mary Kelly with Son, Kelly Barrie











Introduction to Post-Partum Document, 1973.
Documentation I, Analyzed fecal stain, 1974.
Documentation II, Analyzed utterances, 1975.











Transitional Objects

Documentation III, Analyzed markings, 1975.
Documentation IV, Transitional objects, 1976.











Diagram and Research

Prewriting Alphabet

Documentation V, Mounted specimen 9, 1977.
Documentation VI, Prewriting alphabet, 1978.