Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” Still a Modern Masterpiece If Nobody’s Seen It?

The art equivalent of the old “if a tree falls in the forest…” question is, if nobody (or nearly nobody) can see a masterpiece, is it still a masterpiece? How influential is something (or someone) if only a few elite know of its existence or, perhaps even worse, know it only by name or in a grossly abridged version? Christian Marclay’s 2010 film The Clock, one of the most heralded and critically acclaimed works of art of the last 20 years, currently appears in an exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, New York through January 21, 2013, in various forms. The Clock splices together scenes from movies and television programs showing clocks and other timepieces to create a real-time 24 hours of film. It’s brilliant, fascinating, and nearly impossible to watch in full even if you find an opportunity to see it. So, is Christian Marclay’s The Clock still a modern masterpiece if nobody’s seen it? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Is Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” Still a ModernMasterpiece If Nobody’s Seen It?"

[Image: Christian Marclay. Detail of The Clock. 2010. Single-channel video with sound, 24 hours. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and White Cube, London. Photo: Todd-White Photography.] 
[Many thanks to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for providing me with the image above and other press materials related to their exhibition of Christian Marclay’s The Clock, through January 21, 2013.]

1 comment:

Austin Scott Brooks said...

You raise an excellent point, but if there are ridiculously long lines of people waiting for Christian Marclay's The Clock, then a good handful of people must have seen it. There were a ton of people when I went. Plus, it's been shown before at the Cooper Gallery and Lincoln Center, so the title of masterpiece seems appropriate. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, anyway; what's a masterpiece to one viewer might not always be so to another.