Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

MFA Boston has a new plan for “The Clock”

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After initially saying that it would stick to its original plan for premiering Christian Marclay’s 24-hour film installation The Clock, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has made significant changes to how it will debut the work. [Image: A still from The Clock.]

The MFAB announced this afternoon that it plans to premiere The Clock on Sept. 16 at 4pm, when any museum visitor may attend. Previously the museum had planned to debut the work on Sept. 17 at 7pm as part of a $200-per-person opening event at the museum’s new wing for contemporary art. That initial plan was criticized by many art lovers in a Boston Globe article and was pilloried elsewhere, including here on MAN. Eventually Marclay issued a statement in which he objected to the MFA’s plan. The museum recently acquired the work in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada.

The MFAB’s press release explains the change:

For the 24-hour premiere, The Clock is included in Museum admission during MFA hours­—from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, September 16 and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. Overnight from 9 p.m. (September 16) through 10 a.m. (September 17), when only The Clock will be on view, guests will be admitted free of charge. There are no reservations and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Loring Gallery will be arranged with couches and room for standing to accommodate a total of 48 visitors. For more information, please visit [here.]

As noted above, originally the MFAB planned to charge  $200 to see a portion of The Clock as part of the Sept. 17 festivities that will formally open the museum’s new contemporary art wing. The MFA planned to 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 would have had 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 would have been able to see slightly more of the piece.)

The MFAB is also planning a completely free 24-hour screening between 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 9, through 4 p.m. on Columbus Day, Monday, October 10.

The museum said that the change in plans was not specifically a response to Marclay’s statement.

“It’s in response to all the buzz and all the excitement we’ve been hearing,” MFA spokesperson Karen Frascona told MAN. “We wanted to make sure we added the screening. That enables the general public to see it first.”
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  1. […] – Stopping the Clock: In response to criticism, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has announced that it will now be holding a free public showing of Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” before its controversial cocktail party opening for the piece, tickets to which cost $200. Still, the gallery showing the film only holds 48 visitors, so get there early. [Modern Art Notes] […]

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