Time Passes Before Your Eyes

May 11, 2011
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As you may have read, last month we acquired The Clock, Christian Marclay’s 24-hour film collage. This Monday, starting at 11 am, we will be screening The Clock in the Bing Theater for 24 hours straight—for free!—for the first time anywhere on the West Coast. (Beginning Friday, May 20, The Clock will be on view during regular museum hours in a gallery setting.)

Christian Marclay, The Clock (still), 2010, purchased with funds provided by Steve Tisch through the 2011 Collectors Committee, © Christian Marclay, photo courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Watching The Clock is like watching the clock—quite literally. The sudden realization when you’re observing this work that you don’t need to keep checking your own watch because the visuals and audio on screen are actually in real time hits you hard. “I’ll just stay five minutes,” you tell yourself, and then you get sucked in.

What’s that actor’s name? Oh, I know this movie! I remember this TV series! You’re hooked.

“I’ll stay a few minutes longer,” and the minutes go by… then quarter hours, and then hours go by without you really realizing—except that you do, because the time is constantly being thrust in your face, in full sight and sound, on the screen in front of you. Time seen on a clock face, the chime of a timepiece, the passing of time. Time flies by. It’s visually compelling and at the same time frustrating, because you want to stay but you know you have to leave—there are things to do, places to go, work to be done. But the opportunity to see as much as you can of this visual extravaganza of film and television clips ensnares you, and you feel compelled to stay and see as much as you can. That is, if you have the time to spare. Time waits for no one.

Miranda Carroll, Director of Communications