Gore on Film

WED 8/6

Some call Matthew Barney a genius, an auteur, a revolutionary. Others may call him a self-indulgent art snob. Either way, his five-film series titled Cremaster Cycle defies any sort of label or interpretation. For those who aren't up to par on anatomy, the cremaster is the muscle that raises or lowers the testicles, depending upon the temperature. That should be enough to warn you that Barney's epic films (which together run six and a half hours) explore the muddy terrain of sexual ambiguity, amputation, and dysfunction. Don't be scared, kids. Cremaster is not a horror film. Its lush, opulent scenery, gorgeous symbolism, Busby Berkeley-style choreography, and Wagnerian opera are all great eye candy and make up for the occasional disturbing image. Perhaps even more perplexing than the films, though, is the fact that Barney and Björk had a child last fall. Now, that's scary. You can view Cremaster 1 and 2 at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). Showings at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cremaster 3, 4, and 5 play August 7 to 10. Call 954-525-3456. --Audra Schroeder

THU 7/31

Artistic Alternatives

The Mark K. Wheeler Gallery (Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, 1799 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale) unveils its latest exhibit this week. Titled "Variations," the exhibit includes works by mother-and-daughter artists Lourdes and Maria Menendez. Maria, for the record, graduated from the institute in 1999 with a degree in photography, and in this exhibit, she demonstrates how well those skills are taught there. The photography of both Maria and her mother seeks to encompass the themes of unity and individuality. From fading fingerprints to up-close eyeballs, the work of the Menendezes focuses on human anatomy, showing how, no matter how closely related people may appear on the surface, beneath that veneer lie startling distinctions. Only a close look reveals the difference. "Variations" kicks off with an artist reception on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., and the exhibit shows through August 16. Call 800-275-7603. -- Dan Sweeney

SAT 8/2

Paging Dr. Moreau


For the conclusion of the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art's (601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth) "Artful Saturdays" series, the museum has elected to let families get a glimpse into what earthly life forms would look like if the world were the playground of a deranged madman who splices animal and human genes. Exhibiting artist Sara Stites leads families in creating collages that blend animal and human figures. You can then take your collage home and pin it to your bedroom wall, so that you may be greeted by the snarling face of Hyena Man each and every morning. The workshop is free with museum admission. Call 561-582-0006. -- Dan Sweeney

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