Art Fag City at The L Magazine: Christian Marclay’s The Clock

by Paddy Johnson on February 16, 2011 · 2 comments The L Magazine

Still from Christian Marclay's The Clock

This week at The L Magazine I write about Christian Marclay’s The Clock. I should note that while I’ve seen several more hours since the writing of this piece, my opinion remains much the same: the piece has some limitations. However, some hours demonstrate more of Marclay’s musical prowess than others. I recommend attending around 2:00 am for some of his better material. The faux narratives are more compelling as is the musical score.

Art school taught me a lot about art-making strategies that should be used with caution. Only a couple artists in any generation will get away with presenting mass amounts of one material or subject matter in their art, so be careful! The rest will be criticized for employing a technique that too easily dazzles. Also, while it’s important to create bodies of work that relate to each other, mind the catch: later it will become evidence that you’ve been recycling your work for years. Photographers and appropriation artists have it the worst, though. What other discipline demands the use of compelling material then rejects that content for being more interesting than its representation?

I spent a good deal of time thinking about these contradictions while watching Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” at Paula Cooper Gallery (through February 19). I wondered if his 24 hours worth of spliced film footage counting the minutes of every hour might be a little gimmicky. It’s a facile concept, and not so different from “Telephones,” a 1994 video in which he sliced together a bizarre conversation made from movie scenes of people on the phone. Was he really adding to the pre-existing material in either work?

To read the full piece click here.

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