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MoMA Finally Gives in and Acquires “The Clock” Too

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The Museum of Modern Art has announced its plans to acquire “The Clock,” the 24-hour-long film by artist Christian Marclay. The piece is a promised gift from the private collection of Jill and Peter Kraus. MoMA is just about the last major art museum to jump on the “Clock” bandwagon.

“The Clock,” already considered a masterpiece of computer-age art-making, consists of footage appropriated from iconic movies in which clocks are shown, or the time referenced. Together, the cut-together clips show one full day of movie time. “Created with virtuosic skill by the artist, ‘The Clock’ is a tour de force of mixing, editing, and montage as it draws attention to time as a multifaceted protagonist of cinematic narrative,” said MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry in a press release. “We are grateful to Jill and Peter Kraus for this generous promised gift to the Museum.”

At the time of its unveiling, Zadie Smith wrote an essay for the New York Review of Books calling “The Clock” “monumental in intention and design… neither bad nor good, but sublime, maybe the greatest film you have ever seen.” The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw referred to the piece as “a masterpiece of our time.” Mere months after its debut at the White Cube gallery, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired a copy of the work in April, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts spent more than $250,000 on a joint purchase of the work with the National Gallery of Canada in May. Last summer, Marclay’s work received the Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

The Boston MFA’s announcement of a plan to sell $200 tickets to a party featuring an advance viewing of “The Clock” was met with controversy, and the museum eventually abandoned the event, instead unveiling the piece in a public opening. Specific plans from MoMA about when and how the work will be displayed have not yet been announced. Check out some clips from “The Clock” in the video embedded below.

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