Misleading take on museum’s milestone

Christian Marclay’s 24-hour “The Clock,’’ which is coming to the Museum of Fine Arts next month, was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York in February. Christian Marclay’s 24-hour “The Clock,’’ which is coming to the Museum of Fine Arts next month, was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York in February. (Benjamin Norman for The New York Times/File 2011)
August 19, 2011

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GEOFF EDGERS’S front-page story “MFA asks early birds to pay $200 to see ‘Clock’ ’’ (Aug. 16) was misleading, and has caused great upset to artist Christian Marclay and to the Museum of Fine Arts. It is the artist’s requirement, which we respect, that his film “The Clock’’ not be used for promotional or commercial purposes, and that no additional admission fee be required to see it.

The article implies that in order to see “The Clock,’’ visitors must pay $200. In fact, the ticket price is to attend the opening party celebrating the MFA’s new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. The Sept. 17 party includes live entertainment, performance artists, food and drink, and the chance to see our newly renovated contemporary galleries featuring a special exhibition of Ellsworth Kelly and collection installations, one of which is “The Clock.’’ The 24-hour celebration will conclude with an open house offering 12 hours of free entry into the museum, including “The Clock,’’ from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 18.

It has always been our plan for “The Clock’’ to be on view during regular MFA hours, with no incremental fee. The MFA relayed this information to Edgers and made it clear that the museum would be hosting a free 24-hour screening during Columbus Day weekend. Edgers chose not to emphasize these plans, which has led to significant misperception and negativity.

The opening of the contemporary wing is a milestone for the MFA and our many supporters and visitors.

Malcolm Rogers
Ann and Graham Gund Director
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The whining is not about art THE WHINES and complaints about the cost for the premiere of the film “The Clock’’ at the Museum of Fine Arts are more about exclusion from a bourgeois privilege than about true interest in matters of art (“MFA asks early birds to pay $200 to see ‘Clock,’ ’’ Page A1, Aug. 16). The people at the MFA are doing great things in a tough economy. Let them. “The Clock’’ and all the art at the MFA will be accessible at some point for free to all. I wonder if those who are complaining about what it costs to see it first during the opening party would really sit through all 24 hours, and if they have an informed reason to want to see the first 12 hours as opposed to the second half, which will be shown during the free open house. I wonder whether “The Clock’’ will be a better artistic experience in its first showing than in a second or third viewing.

Being there at an unveiling is a social experience with superficial cachet. To really enjoy art, I usually find it best to wait for the crowds to thin and come in later.

Sterling Giles