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MoMA Acquires Christian Marclay’s ‘The Clock’


Still from Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” (2010). Photo: Todd-White Art Photography. (Courtesy White Cube, Paula Cooper Gallery, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Still slapping yourself with a pocket watch at having missed the celebratory Boston debut of Christian Marclay’s 24-hour chrono-cinematic odyssey, “The Clock” (2010), earlier this month at the Museum of Fine Arts? Fear not. It will be at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in no time. The critically acclaimed video work has been acquired by MoMA as a promised gift from the collection of Jill and Peter Kraus. “Created with virtuosic skill by the artist, ‘The Clock’ is a tour de force of mixing, editing, and montage as it draws attention to time as a multifaceted protagonist of cinematic narrative,” said MoMA director Glenn Lowry in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Marclay and his team of six researchers spent three years watching films in search of time. They scoured chase scenes, board rooms, emergency wards, bank heists, trysts, high noon shootouts, detective dramas, and silent comedies for clocks and watches. The artist then painstakingly assembled the flagged footage into a 24-hour montage that unfolds in real time. In its first appearance stateside earlier this year, “The Clock” drew crowds (and critical acclaim) to Paula Cooper Gallery, and two of the work’s five editions were snapped up by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (for a reported $467,500) and in a joint acquisition by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the National Gallery of Canada.

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