Tyler Green
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Marclay issues statement about MFAB event

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This post has been updated twice: On Thursday night and on Friday morning. Please see below.

Through his gallery, Christian Marclay has released a statement in which he appears to object to the way in which the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston plans to use his 24-hour installation The Clock [film still at right] on Sept. 17.

This is the statement from White Cube (in its entirety):

“It has always been my express wish that there should be no additional charge to view my work The Clock, over and above any general admission price to an institution or any other venue, nor should it be used in connection with the promotion, advertisement or sponsorship of any person or business. This is contractually agreed by all institutions who own and exhibit The Clock. It is my intention that my work be made equally accessible to all.”

As previously noted on MAN, the MFA plans to charge  $200 to see a portion of The Clock as part of the Sept. 17  festivities that will open the museum’s new contemporary art wing. The MFA will charge admission on a sliding scale, starting at $200 for entry at 7pm on Sept. 17, ending at 7am on Sept. 18, when entry to the MFA will be free as part of a ‘community day.’ As a result, regularly admitted, non-$200-level visitors will have the opportunity to see only half of The Clock when the MFA debuts the work. (Visitors who pay less than $200 as part of the MFA’s sliding scale will be able to see slightly more of the piece.)

It is unclear whether the MFA’s acquisition contract for the piece addresses the specific use the MFA is planning. Los Angeles County Museum of Art spokesperson Miranda Carroll told MAN today that LACMA’s contract with Marclay for its edition of The Clock covers the environment in which the piece is shown, such as the size of the screen, the number of sofas and so on, but not necessarily its potential use (or half-use, in this case) as a fundraising tool. (Carroll added that LACMA is planning its next 24-hour installation of the piece at the Bing Theater in March, 2012.)

MAN has asked the MFA and White Cube for additional comment. I’ll update this post when more information is available.

UPDATE, 9:05pm EDT: In an email to MAN, the MFA suggested it is moving forward with its original plan, as outlined above. MFA spokesperson Amelia Kantrovitz sent this statement:

The MFA has been in close and frequent contact with White Cube and Christian Marclay regarding the presentation of The Clock. The video will initially be presented during the 24 hour opening celebration for the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art on September 17/18, then during regular MFA hours, and later this fall during a free 24-hour screening on Columbus Day weekend.

UPDATE, Friday, 8:30am, EDT: The MFA confirms via an email to MAN that this means it is going ahead with its plan to make half of the work available as part of a $200 event and the other half available for ‘regular’ visitors the next day.

Related: MFA Boston director Malcolm Rogers’ letter to the Boston Globe about the Marclay and the MFA’s Sept. 17 opening.

Previously on MAN: My satirical take on the situation.

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  1. Stephen says:

    The sliding price scale is what makes this smell fishy. A $200 admission for a fundraising event? Tolerable. Showing The Clock? Good. But combine the two, and add the sliding scale and it seems to tie the price of admission to the movie. How about having a ritzy fundraising party (museums do need those now and then) and a showing of The Clock but with separate admissions? You can see the movie for free, but you can’t go to the party. If you go to the party, you have to pay, and you can also see the movie.

  2. […] initially saying that it was sticking to its original plan for premiering Christian Marclay’s 24-hour film installation The Clock, the Museum of Fine […]

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