Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the National Gallery of Canada Acquire Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video The Clock

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Gallery of Canada have acquire the sought-after contemporary masterpiece, Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video, The Clock.

A unique and compelling new work created by world-renowned sound and video artist Christian Marclay has been acquired jointly by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). Entitled The Clock (2010), this ode to time and cinema comprises thousands of fragments from a vast range of films that create a 24-hour, looped, single-channel video. “Christian Marclay’s The Clock is a mesmerizing work of video art that captures the dynamic nature of time. We are particularly pleased to be able to premiere it in Boston during the unveiling of the MFA’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art in September,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “The acquisition of The Clock reinforces how contemporary art is part of a rich continuum at our encyclopedic museum and highlights exciting new directions in the collection for video and new media, which we will explore in the wing’s new Lizbeth and George Krupp Gallery.”

The MFA’s acquisition of the work is made possible thanks to a contribution by Lizbeth and George Krupp to the Edward Linde Fund for video and new media, established in memory of Mr. Linde’s support of the Museum. The Clock will debut in Boston as part of festivities marking the unveiling of the MFA’s new contemporary wing on September 17 and 18, when the work will be shown in its entirety at a 24-hour screening. A masterwork of film sampling and editing, The Clock tells the accurate time at any given moment and will be synchronized to the local time zone in order to be used as a working time piece. The opening event will begin at 7 p.m. on September 17 and conclude at 7 p.m. September 18.

The Clock, a masterful and ambitious installation
Marclay compiled thousands of film clips of wristwatches, clock towers, sundials, alarm clocks, and countdowns, among other things, each of which convey a particular moment that is used to illustrate every minute in a 24-hour period. Several years in the making, The Clock examines how time, plot, and duration are depicted in cinema. Although the audience can use the piece to tell the local time, viewers can experience a vast range of cinematic settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions and rupturing any sense of linear, narrative sequence. The work is both an homage to more than a century of film history and an affirmation of our present time.

Marclay – Master of Collage
Marclay’s fascination with collaging sound and image dates back to the late 1970s while he was a student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston (near the MFA) and Cooper Union in New York. Marclay played music with bands in underground club scenes, often using homemade instruments such as a record turntable converted into a portable electric guitar-like device. His innovative artistic practice continues to combine aural and visual sources with a keen sensibility toward complex editing, sampling and looping techniques. Christian Marclay’s experimental work with sound, video, and film has influenced a younger generation of artists for whom the idea of digital sampling and mixing recordings is now a given.

The Clock receives international critical acclaim
The Clock has already been viewed with critical acclaim at venues around the world since premiering at White Cube, London, in 2010. These include The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Soeul, South Korea; The Garage in Moscow; “The British Art Show” in Nottingham, UK; The Hayward Gallery in London, UK; and the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. It will be shown at the Venice Biennale opening June 1, 2011, and at the Yokohama Triennale in August 2011.

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