Christian Marclay’s The Clock

Sun, Dec 09, 2012

“A true masterpiece.”—Blake Gopnik, The Daily Beast

“Thrilling.”—Geoff Dyer, Time

“Magnificent.”—Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times

“Enthralling.”—Roberta Smith, New York Times

“It’s one of those things you have to see.”—Meghan O’Rourke, New Yorker

Columbus, OH—December 9, 2012—The Wexner Center for the Arts announced today that it will exhibit The Clock, an internationally acclaimed tour de force by artist Christian Marclay, on view January 27–April 7, 2013. This marks the first Midwest presentation of The Clock since its London debut in 2010.

The Clock is a video work that literally tells the time by splicing together thousands of movie scenes depicting clocks, watches, and other timepieces, so as to track the passage of time over a 24-hour period. At each venue where the work is installed, the piece is synced to the local time—so when a scene shows 12 noon in The Clock, it is actually 12 noon for those watching the video. Ranging from iconic movie scenes to more obscure film excerpts, The Clock features “cameo appearances” by such stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Charlie Chaplin, Nicole Kidman, Robert Redford, and scores of others as they watch or talk about the time. The clips were painstakingly culled over the course of three years.

“Dazzling in its artistic and technical virtuosity, The Clock is utterly mesmerizing,” says Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin. “A seamless collage of cinematic moments from throughout the history of film, it is both a celebration of movie history and a poignant reminder of time’s relentless pace. Viewers are invariably seduced to watch the video far longer than they may have intended, even while being barraged with reminders of the literal passage of time. It’s a remarkable feat, and we are thrilled to bring it to our audiences.”

The Wexner Center, located on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, will show The Clock during regular gallery hours (Tuesday–Wednesday and Sunday 11 am–6 pm, Thursday–Saturday 11 am–8 pm; closed Monday). In addition, on selected Saturday nights during the run of the show, the center will stay open over the The Clock’s full 24-hour sweep (dates are January 26, February 9, March 2, and April 6). The piece may be open on other selected evenings and weekday mornings as well, in conjunction with other center events.

A publication produced by the Wexner Center will accompany the exhibition, with texts by Bill Horrigan, the Wexner Center’s curator-at-large, and Kris Paulsen, assistant professor of art history at Ohio State.

Marclay will be in conversation with artist Josiah McElheny (whose work will also be on view at the Wexner Center in the winter of 2013) on Saturday, January 26 at 5 pm at the Wexner Center. This free conversation serves as the annual Lambert Family Lecture. A members' opening will follow. A press preview will be held the afternoon of Friday, January 25; details to come.

More about The Clock phenomenon

The Clock debuted at White Cube Gallery in London in fall 2010 to popular and critical acclaim, and the piece has since traveled to cities on four continents from New York to Sydney, greeted at each venue with keen anticipation and long lines. The work exists in an edition of only six and has been acquired by such preeminent institutions as The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In September 2012, The Clock was deemed the “most iconic artwork of the last five years” by ARTINFO, and Marclay was called one of the 10 most important artists of today by Newsweek’s Blake Gopnik in 2011 and one of the “Time 100” in April 2012. New York Times film critic A.O. Scott described The Clock as a “beguiling dream of eternal cinema,” while writer Zadie Smith called it “maybe the greatest film you have ever seen.” It won the coveted Golden Lion award at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

About bringing The Clock to the Wex

The Wexner Center has a long history with Christian Marclay. Shortly after opening to the public in November 1989, the center commissioned the artist to participate in New Works for New Spaces, the third segment of the center’s opening trilogy of exhibitions. For that occasion in spring 1990, Marclay created a new piece—coincidently also titled The Clock—which he installed on the grid-like steel “scaffolding” on the exterior of the Peter Eisenman building. That “early” iteration of The Clock featured 25 hammering mechanisms that struck the grid’s metal beams—in effect, transforming the scaffolding into a giant noisemaker once every hour, in time with other clocks on the Ohio State campus.

Other works by Marclay have also appeared at the center over the years. His 1990 work Vertigo (Soundtrack for an exhibition) was included in Art and Film Since 1945: Hall of Mirrors, on view at the Wexner Center in 1996. In addition, Marclay did post-production work at the Wexner Center on his 1995 piece Telephones, which was installed in the center’s lobby.

About the artist

Born in California in 1955 and raised in Switzerland, Christian Marclay currently resides in London. For the last three decades, he has explored the fusion of fine art and sound through performance, collage, sculpture, installation, painting, photography, and video. He was a pioneer in the use of records and turntables as musical instruments. Marclay has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Seattle Art Museum, Barbican in London, UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and SFMOMA. He has been included in group exhibitions all over the world as well, and has collaborated with such musicians and performing artists as Kronos Quartet, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, Bebe Miller, and many others. More on Marclay can be found on the Paula Cooper Gallery’s web site,, and the White Cube Gallery’s web site,

The Wexner Center receives generous support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council, as well as from the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.