The National Gallery of Canada and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, acquire sought-after contemporary masterpiece, Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video, The Clock

Ottawa,. Ontario - May 4, 2011

– A unique and compelling new work created by world-renowned sound and video artist Christian Marclay has been acquired jointly by the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Entitled The Clock (2010), this ode to time and cinema comprises thousands of fragments from a vast range of films that create a 24-hour, looped, single-channel video.

The Clock is a contemporary masterpiece and an extraordinary artistic feat,” said NGC Director Marc Mayer. “This is the first work by Christian Marclay to enter Canada’s national collection. We are thrilled to be collaborating with the MFA on this prestigious acquisition and are very grateful to Laura Rapp and Jay Smith, and Carol and Morton Rapp for this magnificent gift. We look forward to sharing Marclay’s tremendous achievement with audiences at the National Gallery of Canada, and with venues across the country in the coming years.”

“Christian Marclay’s The Clock is a mesmerizing work of video art that captures the dynamic nature of time. We are particularly pleased to be able to premiere it in Boston during the unveiling of the MFA’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art in September,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “The acquisition of The Clock reinforces how contemporary art is part of a rich continuum at our encyclopedic museum and highlights exciting new directions in the collection for video and new media, which we will explore in the wing’s new Lizbeth and George Krupp Gallery.”

The MFA’s acquisition of the work is made possible thanks to a contribution by Lizbeth and George Krupp to the Edward Linde Fund for video and new media, established in memory of Mr. Linde’s support of the Museum. The Clock will debut in Boston as part of festivities marking the unveiling of the MFA’s new contemporary wing on September 17 and 18, where the work will be shown in its entirety at a 24-hour screening. A masterwork of film sampling and editing, The Clock tells the accurate time at any given moment and will be synchronized to the local time zone in order to be used as a working time piece. The opening event will begin at 7 p.m. on September 17 and conclude at 7 p.m. September 18.

The Clock, anambitious installation
Marclay compiled thousands of film clips of wristwatches, clock towers, sundials, alarm clocks, and countdowns amongst other things, each of which convey a particular moment that is used to illustrate every minute in a 24-hour period.

Several years in the making, The Clock examines how time, plot, and duration are depicted in cinema. Although the audience can use the piece to tell the local time, viewers can experience a vast range of cinematic settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions and rupturing any sense of linear, narrative sequence. The work is both an homage to more than a century of film history and an affirmation of our present time.

Marclay – master of collage
Marclay’s fascination with collaging sound and image dates back to the late 1970s while he was a student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston (near the MFA) and Cooper Union in New York. Marclay played music with bands in underground club scenes, often using homemade instruments such as a record turntable converted into a portable electric guitar-like device. His innovative artistic practice continues to combine aural and visual sources with a keen sensibility toward complex editing, sampling and looping techniques. Christian Marclay’s experimental work with sound, video and film has been extremely influential on a younger generation of artists for whom the idea of digital sampling and mixing recordings is now a given.

The Clock receives international critical acclaim
The Clock has already been viewed with critical acclaim at venues around the world since premiering at White Cube, London in 2010. These include The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Soeul, South Korea; The Garage in Moscow; ‘The British Art Show’ in Nottingham, UK, The Hayward Gallery in London, UK, and the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. It will be shown at the Venice Biennale opening June 1, 2011 and at the Yokohama Triennale in August 2011.

About the artist
Christian Marclay lives and works between London and New York. Born in California in 1955, he spent much of his youth in Switzerland studying at the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel. In 1977 he moved back to the United States and graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He has extensive international exhibition and performance history with solo exhibitions including, most recently: “The Clock”, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2011); “What You See is What You Hear,” LEEUM Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2010); “The Clock”, White Cube Mason’s Yard (2010), “Festival”, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, “Christian Marclay with Irene Schweizer,” Gare du Nord, Basel (2009); “Christian Marclay: Replay,” DHC Art Foundation, Montreal (2008); “Cycloptically. Rolywholyover, Fifth Episode” Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2008); “Crossfire,” White Cube Hoxton Square, London (2007); “The Bell and the Glass,” Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006); “Christian Marclay,” Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris (2005); “The Sounds of Christmas,” Tate Modern, London (2004); “Christian Marclay,” UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2003); The Centre for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, Annandale on Hudson (2003); The Seattle Art Museum (2004); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2004); Collection Lambert, Avignon (2004) and the Barbican Art Gallery, London (2005). Marclay’s work has also been presented in numerous group exhibitions around the world.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art, including the extensive collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information, visit

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 450,000 objects. The MFA opened its building in Copley Square on July 4, 1876, later opening a larger building on Huntington Avenue in November 1909. Throughout the century, the Museum continued to expand with major additions, including its west-facing wing, designed by I.M. Pei, in 1981. Now known as the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, it will be unveiled to the public in September 2011. The transformation of the Linde Family Wing is a continuation of the Museum’s comprehensive building addition and renovation initiative. (In November 2010, the MFA opened its new Art of the Americas Wing and the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard, designed by Foster + Partners, London.)

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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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