Bound to The Clock

March 21, 2012

This weekend, we will be holding another twenty-four-hour screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock. This video collage, which pieces together thousands of film and television clips, has redefined how we look at time.

In The Clock, common themes surround each hour of the day. Whether in an old black-and-white film or in a French neo-noir, breakfast is eaten at breakfast time. Actors in every film struggle with punctuality each time the hour comes to a close. The attention of the everyday employee is directed towards the clock as five o'clock nears.

During our screenings last year, audiences mirrored this effect. The morning crowd would saunter in, still waking up, downing their lattes before heading into the theater, while the actors on screen started their own coffee pots. The late-night crowd’s rowdiness mimicked the intensity of the midnight hour in the film. The Clock, in an uncanny and subtle fashion, illuminates how our daily lives bend to the will of time.

Inspired by this idea, a quick look through our collections online reveals a similar motif of art bound to time. Below are pairings from our collection that combine a clock showing a specific time with an artwork depicting daily life during that time of day.  The subjects in these works, like the actors in Marclay's film, carry about their days unknowingly bound to the clock.

6:10 AM—The early morning hours


Georg Metzner, Table Clock and Case, circa 1650, William Randolph Hearst Collection
Georg Metzner, Table Clock and Case, circa 1650, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Georg Metzner, Table Clock and Case, c. 1650, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Kawase Hasui, Morning at Dotonbori, Osaka, February 14, 1921, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda
Kawase Hasui, Morning at Dotonbori, Osaka, February 14, 1921, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda

Kawase Hasui, Morning at Dotonbori, Osaka, February 14, 1921, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda


9:07 AM—Late to work

Gustave Bovy-Serrurier, Serrurier-Bovy's Workshop,Clock, circa 1905
Gustave Bovy-Serrurier, Serrurier-Bovy's Workshop,Clock, circa 1905

Gustave Bovy-Serrurier, Serrurier-Bovy's Workshop, Clock, c. 1905, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans


John Gutmann, Sunset Boulevard at Figueroa Street, 1948, printed later, gift of John Gutmann
John Gutmann, Sunset Boulevard at Figueroa Street, 1948, printed later, gift of John Gutmann

John Gutmann, Sunset Boulevard at Figueroa Street, 1948, printed later, gift of John Gutmann

11:16 AM—Meetings


Karl Emanuel Martin (Kem) Weber, Lawson Time Inc., ‘Zephyr' Clock, circa 1938, purchased with funds provided by Maura and Mark Resnick
Karl Emanuel Martin (Kem) Weber, Lawson Time Inc., ‘Zephyr

Karl Emanuel Martin (Kem) Weber, Lawson Time Inc., ‘Zephyr' Clock, c. 1938, purchased with funds provided by Maura and Mark Resnick


China, Meeting of the Bodhisattvas Manjusri (Wenshu) and Samantabhadra (Puxian), Inscribed with a thirty-four-character dedication, dated 742, middle Tang dynasty, gift of Henry and Ruth Trubner, estate of Hedwig Worch
China, Meeting of the Bodhisattvas Manjusri (Wenshu) and Samantabhadra (Puxian), Inscribed with a thirty-four-character dedication, dated 742, middle Tang dynasty, gift of Henry and Ruth Trubner, estate of Hedwig Worch

China, Meeting of the Bodhisattvas Manjusri (Wenshu) and Samantabhadra (Puxian), Inscribed with a thirty-four-character dedication, dated 742, middle Tang dynasty, gift of Henry and Ruth Trubner, estate of Hedwig Worch


12:58 PM—Lunchtime!


Hendrik Berlage, Becht & Dyserinck, ‘t Binnenhuis Ltd. (The Interior), Clock, 1903-1913
Hendrik Berlage, Becht & Dyserinck, ‘t Binnenhuis Ltd. (The Interior), Clock, 1903-1913

Hendrik Berlage, Becht & Dyserinck, ‘t Binnenhuis Ltd. (The Interior), Clock, 1903-1913, gift of Max Palevsky


Mexico, Nayarit, Nayarit, Seated Couple Preparing and Eating Food, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch
Mexico, Nayarit, Nayarit, Seated Couple Preparing and Eating Food, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch

Seated Couple Preparing and Eating Food, Mexico, Nayarit, Nayarit,  200 B.C. - A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch

7:37 PM—Gathering for supper

Howell & James, Lewis F. Day, Clock, circa 1878, Decorative Arts Deaccession Funds
Howell & James, Lewis F. Day, Clock, circa 1878, Decorative Arts Deaccession Funds

Howell & James, Lewis F. Day, Clock, c. 1878, Decorative Arts Deaccession Funds


Filippo Tarchiani, The Supper at Emmaus, circa 1625, William Randolph Hearst Collection
Filippo Tarchiani, The Supper at Emmaus, circa 1625, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Filippo Tarchiani, The Supper at Emmaus, c. 1625, William Randolph Hearst Collection


11:15 PM—Dream a little dream


Johann Frederick Ebelein, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Mantle Clock and Plinth, circa 1745, gift of Mr. Jack Linsky
Johann Frederick Ebelein, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Mantle Clock and Plinth, circa 1745, gift of Mr. Jack Linsky

Johann Frederick Ebelein, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Mantle Clock and Plinth, c. 1745, gift of Mr. Jack Linsky


Bangs, Frank C., Untitled (Bonnie Maud), 1910 circa, printed 1910 circa, The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin
Bangs, Frank C., Untitled (Bonnie Maud), 1910 circa, printed 1910 circa, The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin

Bangs, Frank C., Untitled (Bonnie Maud), c. 1910, The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin


4:37 AM—Sleep becomes them


L. and J. G. Stickley, Tall Case Clock, circa 1906-1912, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans
L. and J. G. Stickley, Tall Case Clock, circa 1906-1912, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans

L. and J. G. Stickley, Tall Case Clock, circa 1906-1912, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans


Hermann A. Scherer, Sleeping Woman with Boy, 1926, gift of Anna Bing Arnold
Hermann A. Scherer, Sleeping Woman with Boy, 1926, gift of Anna Bing Arnold

Hermann A. Scherer, Sleeping Woman with Boy, 1926, gift of Anna Bing Arnold

Alex Capriotti