Christian Marclay’s widely popular 24-hour video The Clock, which premiered in 2010 at White Cube in London and has toured internationally over the past two years, ended its latest screening at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday. Throughout its month-long run, more than 40,000 visitors spent time with Marclay’s frenetic video.
This figure is more than the combined number of people who sat with The Clock at its two prior New York screenings: Lincoln Center saw about 18,000 visitors over three weeks last summer, and approximately 11,500 waited in line outside of Paula Cooper Gallery in winter 2011 for the video’s New York debut.
For the three weekends that the work was on view at MoMA, the museum stayed open from Friday morning through Sunday evening, allowing the most intrepid viewers to experience the video from beginning to end or during the wee hours. Wait times varied; by the time I made it there, around 5 pm this past Saturday (its penultimate day and the last chance to stay overnight), the wait was about an hour and a half. (Neither press nor MoMA employees were allowed to cut the line.)
The Clock tells time, minute by minute for 1,400 minutes, via thousands of clips from a wide range of movies made over the past 100 years. Every minute is accounted for in a variety cleverly woven-together clips that feature clocks or time-telling as part of the script, set or costume design–a close-up of someone’s watch, a clock barely on view in the background of a dramatic scene, a couple arguing about being late for an engagement, the digital display of a car radio.