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Marclay wins Golden Lion at Venice for "The Clock"

Posted by Sebastian Smee  June 8, 2011 01:25 PM

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Christian Marclay The Clock 2010 a4 4.jpgIt was a rendezvous with destiny, a fait accompli. In a relatively weak field, Christian Marclay's video collage, "The Clock" - the most talked about work of contemporary art since Matthew Barney's "The Cremaster Cycle" - stood out a mile in "ILLUMInations," the group show at the heart of this year's Venice Biennale.

So it came as no surprise to learn that Marclay had been awarded the Golden Lion for best artist.

Marclay's film ties together snippets from the history of cinema. Every few seconds there is a visual showing a time-telling device, or a verbal reference to the time, that corresponds exactly with the real time. The film lasts 24 hours and is, as the description suggests, incredible.

The good news is that, as Geoff Edgers recently reported in the Globe, the Museum of Fine Arts recently teamed up with the National Gallery of Canada to buy the work (for somewhere in the vicinity of $500,000).

The MFA will screen it over 24 hours on September 17 when it opens its Linde Family Wing for contemporary art. I'll see you there at 4.39am.

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About the author

The Boston Globe Journalist Series: Sebastian Smee
Sebastian Smee is the Globe's art critic, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He joined the paper's staff from Sydney, where he served as the national art critic for The Australian. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SebastianSmee. Read Smee's full bio.

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