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Quote of Note: David Edelstein on ‘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)

“I’m fairly sure, unless there are scores of movies in which the time is seen to be 11:48 at a given moment, that Marclay was limited by his source material. He also had to resort to a lot of ticking-clock action-picture scenarios, from the high-toned High Noon on down. Heist movies, time-bomb thrillers, hostage melodramas—the number of them is predictably disproportionate. Marclay returns to the more obvious ones over and over, like the Jason Statham picture Bank Job.

True, there are interstitial bits that bind some of the shots, and moments in which a character looking up at a clock are followed by similar vantages from another movie. Those are witty and brilliantly orchestrated. But it’s all fooling around with found footage, slotting it into place. Little of it is transformed the way it is in, say, the works of Guy Maddin and Terence Davies. From minute to minute (literally), there are delightfully seamless segues, surprising echoes, and excerpts in which I saw the films in question with new eyes. I just can’t conceive of watching it for longer than I did [two hours]…”

-Film critic David Edelstein, sparring with art critic Jerry Saltz on the merits of Christian Marclay’s 2010 video installation “The Clock” in a post on New York‘s Vulture blog. The Museum of Modern Art, which acquired the work last year, has just announced that it will show the work from December 21, 2012, to January 21, 2013, with a special 24-hour viewing on New Year’s Eve.

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