Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Time Gentlemen, Please

Posted by cathedralofshit on June 17, 2011

Christian Marclay’s 24 hour pyscho-pathogen “The Clock’ is becoming a real bore. The other night in Basel Dascha ‘Pop’bitch Abramovich and media monster Elizabeth Murdoch (yup, daughter of) co-hosted a ridiculous dinner for the smug artist at the Beyeler Foundation. It wasn’t enough that this stupidly tedious work used up half the budget for the British Art Show (especially given that he’s Swiss and has no real engagement with Britain other than his Mrs works here). And then White Cube decided that not enough people had been bored by seen it already and clogged up Mason’s Yard with it. Then it won Best in Show at Crufts Venice (a Swiss clock awarded a prize for a show sponsored by Swiss watchmaker-Swatch – PR dream!). Now all the museums of the world (Tate included) have discovered that the footage is all nicked… You’d think this would put them off as, because of this, it can’t actually be shown, but no. He’s expecting them to aquire the rights for him as well. Cue thousands of Tate man-hours calling unhelpful movie houses…

36 Responses to “Time Gentlemen, Please”

  1. mirandaslanda said

    Bizarre. And yet, I imagine, if I went around fly posting copies of Tate owned works they’d be down on my like a ton of carl andre’s.

  2. […] Time Gentlemen, Please […]

  3. Slanderblander said

    Cathedral of the Bitterly Failed

  4. Gnomemansland said

    Strictly speaking White Cube should be done for selling stolen goods.

  5. Spinoza said

    Fair usage, chaps. I think there’s a strong argument that the piece doesn’t rely on any particular items of content for its success and that ANY of those clips could be taken out and replaced by another clip and the piece would remain the same in its essence. It has its own life as a new thing altogether from its composite parts. Anyway, why did no one ever worry before with his other works like Telephones or Video Quartet (Tate owned)? All sounds like sour grapes to me. I’m sure when that kid used a picture of the diamond skull in his teen artwork and Hirst pushed to ban its use, you’d all have been right behind the kid on that one – and as most reasonably minded people would be- which leaves me wondering if there’s a principle then shouldn’t it stand regardless of whose work is being appropriated? Maybe Cathedral of Shit will just always position itself against anyone experiencing any success…

    • Cue comments from White Cube interns/assistant to the assistant to the assistant of Jay’s PA.

      I don’t think that a GCSE student is QUITE the same as Christian Marclay.

      Now pay attention and invigilate!

    • Gnomemansland said

      That’s right Spinoza copyright is just for the little people – the artist has the right to take whatever they want from wherever they want and use it as they see fit, immune from prosecution – such a thing is called fair usage (or the Berlusconi principle). Having made their work the artist (or nobel one) then have the right to declare it an ‘original’ and sell it for shed loads of cash giving not a penny to any of the little people who contributed (hell they should be grateful). The ‘original’ must then also be protected by the full force of the law from anyone who dares to reproduce it or any part of it in any shape or form and the full force of the law brought to bare on any little person who should so dare.

  6. I’m not so worried that there’s copyright issues involved, fair usage is a fine principle.

    It’s rather that Clock is such a trite, self-satisfied idea that demands to be taken seriously, when in reality it is (like all Marclay’s work) a snobbish attack on mass culture, disguised as some kind of fanboy enthusiasm for it.

    The snobbery lies in the fact that while Clock is basically unwatchable and senseless, the fact that it’s constructed from fragments of movie culture allows it to attain (in the minds of artworld gatekeepers) the status of Grand Statement about Hollywood – just like that other unwatchably tedious-pompous essay on Hollywood, Douglas Gordon’s 24-Hour Psycho. (or has everyone forgotten that one?)

    Because while Clock parasites on the real and substantial meaning of every film it plunders, films which have interesting things in them like narrative time, diegetic space, character, drama, culture, politics, sex, desire, adventure, history and so on, Clock pretends that it is somehow conducting a brilliant disassembly of those values (they’re just sooo last-century!), by destroying the fictive time of the cinema and reducing it to the utter boredom of time as it is often experienced (or suffered) in the space of the artworld gallery.

    Clock’s success is not theoretical (you theory-bunnies out there reaching for your Deleuze to try and ‘explain’ Clock should stop right there), but socio-cultural. That’s to say it’s success is determined by the identity of the viewers who relate to art culture postively and to mass culture negatively. Artworld collectors, curators and other servile types understand that Clock is an attack on what they most despise – commercial mass culture – by its aggressive conversion of movie art-works into artworld art-works. By disemboweling mass culture film-making, and emptying it film of its central characteristic – the organic integrity of fictional time – Clock effectively ‘reifies’ artistic temporality, turning it into an material or ‘real’ object – time in the image passes synchronously with time in the gallery, making it into an ‘art-object’ in the process.

    Of course, if Clock had been one of those fucking awful structuralist films or videos from the 1970s – you know, a video recording of a clock-face, telling the time at the same time as a live video circuit of another clock face telling the actual time, or some dreadful shit like that – nobody would have batted an eyelid. Clock’s gesture is only visible and effective because it is directed against mass culture AND against the artistic manipulation of fictive temporality, under cover of the minimalist tradition of indexicality. Weirdly, the use of indexicality in Clock actually turns into an existential statement about the futility of lived, human time, of the essential absence of meaning in any human action or endeavour. This dovetails Clock neatly with a fashionable Capitalist anti-humanism – and that’s not because all the people who really like Clock are super-rich idle time-wasters whose lives have no particular meaning or direction.

    But if that many artworld-types can think they’re having a profound moment with Clock, when in reality all they’re doing is playing a very expensive game of spot-which-film-this-is-from, then it tells us something about how fashion, marketing and herd-mentality gets confused with criticality in the artworld. The real frustration of watching Clock is realising how many great movies have been made by great artists, and how much I’d rather be spending my day watching them than this self-indulgent, smugly moronic display of late-structuralist pedantry made by an artistic pigmy who has managed to have one idea in twenty years. There is more insight into the nature of time, cinema, fiction and culture across four frames of Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Inglorious Basterds’ than in Marclay’s existential fairground-ride-for-people-who-like-sitting-on-gallery-floors.

    The best thing anyone could do is steal the master tapes of Clock and sling the fucker up on youtube. No! Wait! Even better – we could all go and find the little snippets of all the different films that Marclay’s slaves sweated to locate, and then splice them together into a new version of Clock. And then set it as everyone’s screen-saver… It’d be like the Downfall viral, but for the artworld…

    • gnomeansland said

      I agree fair usage is fine but not if it is a one way process in which the artist plunders mass culture (often mumbling along the way some post modernist death of the author rhetoric) but then as soon as they have made their masterwork they refuse any notion of fair usage of that. So for example if we had the time and patience to reconstruct Clock and then started showing our new timepiece I’m sure White Cube would have their lawyers writing injunctions faster than you could say Jopling. So far from being fair usage Marcaly is all about is the commodification of culture.

      • Spinoza said

        I’ve written this at the bottom Gnomeansland in response to your comment earlier but it’s worth interjecting here as you have again stated that no one would ever stand for this if the tables were turned on marclay. There was an ad a few years ago for a radio station in London that made funny collage people from record sleeve designs, or a telelcommunications ad made up of a montage of people speaking on the phone to form a new conversation to amusing effect. Im sure h knows he appropriates in turn so of course cannot criticise – there are no double standards at play.

    • Alistair said

      So glad I’m not the only person who wondered how Marclay counts as British and Re: “sling the fucker up on youtube”- I’d love one of the curators or galleries involved in the hyping and flogging of ‘Clock’ to explain what the real difference is- if any- between Marclay’s official, art world approved, VERY SERIOUS ARTWORK and all the youtube supercuts (“cell phone’s dead”, “mirror scare”, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you”, etc.) that have been doing the rounds of various blogs over the past few years.
      And no the answer is not, “it was shown in an art gallery” or “it was made by an artist”. I think we can do better than that, or we should at least be able to.

  7. CAP said

    I thought Marclay was American. I’m sure I read somewhere he was from California…. and I thought yeah well that explains a lot…

    But I agree the thing is over-rated. And WhyTF is it shown in galleries and not cinemas? It is a M O V I E. Albeit a very long and abstract one. So put it on a dounle bill with Warhol’s Empire State Building. If it must win something at Venice let it win at the Film Festival! I’m sick of fine art being colonised by motion pictures on the lam from the art house. Fair enough they’re art as well – as is literature and theatre – but give it it’s own bloody platform and let it stay there!

    Also love JJ’s description of it as an ‘existential fairground-ride-for-people-who-like-sitting-on-gallery-floors’ – reminds me of the old description for video art – as ‘watchnig TV standing up’.

  8. CAP said

    Sorry about the above typos – dounle instead of double, watchnig instead of watching. I’m a shit proof reader. Or should I say a shti prooof redr?

  9. SlanderBlander said

    Oddly, JJ Charlesworth’s academic and rather smug snoozefest negates the real art present in The Clock and the real key to it’s successes – the editing. I find it hard to discern any capitalistic dehumanisation or snobbery in a work whose sole purpose is to recount a fictional 24 hours as a functional clock utilising found footage as its nuts and bolts. That is, of course, unless you’re the bitter failed-artist type living somewhere like London Fields/Hack-ney, deluding yourself into seeing hidden meanings – all negative – that clearly aren’t a deliberate intention of the artist.

    I loved The Clock – no, I’m not White Cube – and suggest you read Zadie Smith’s essay on it. It comes from the perspective of a real film buff who, like I and my poor friends, enjoyed it for the right, non-academic reasons. The editing is great, the sound collageing lovely, and it messes with one’s sense of temporality in the same way as being in a car crash – seconds pass like minutes, minutes like seconds, and by then you’ve been watching for a couple of hours.

    Ordinarily I’m a fan of C of S, but trashing something for copyright infringement is about as Conservative-lame as it gets.

    • gnomeansland said

      Ah SlanderBlander you are the kind of person the White Cube was designed for – you see only the work on an aesthetic neutral plane detached and divorced from the wider socio-economic forces underpinning its execution and transmission and for that matter shaping society.

    • am said

      Agree with SlanderB ….j.j. Charlesworth is just a jumbling of tedious familiar found sound clips merged into a whine (if it were not for the quite specific whining quality he’d be open to accusations of intellectual borrowing, particularly from the greasily thumbed ArtReview large-print-library (classmark ‘Ideas’) – would be my guess).

    • The Duke of Fucking Westminster said

      I’m not sure that one has to live in an economically less affluent part of London and be a ‘failed-artist type’ to hate this tedious work. I live in a castle in the south of France (and have my cock sucked by SlanderBlander’s Tory girlfriend whilst I count my millions) and even I hate it.

      Also, I didn’t read the copyright infringement as being the focus of this post but the fact that loads of corporate cunts are using it to their own ends AND the footage is nicked. Not like the rich to steal is it. I should know after all.

  10. Douglas Gordon's Gin said

    Fair usage? I don’t think so:

    Other than that I’m with J.J.

    The promotion of this work has become about the promotion of Swatch, Credit Suisse and the (Wendi, not Elizabeth, Murdoch and Dascha Zhukova – the Rupert Murdoch and Abramovich’s WAGS). According to one Art Basel edition of the Art Newspaper it was Marclay who had the sour grapes as the dinner in “his honor” (sic) was hijacked by More here (with more Kordansky):

    Spinoza? I don’t think so.

    • Spinoza said

      yeah i started reading it but it was so boring. Lots of people I hadn’t heard of nor cared about. Couldn’t see anything about Marclay being in a huff though…

  11. Harold Sleazeman said

    I’m with Slander Bander. I mean Zadie Smith is a right proper art critic not like that JJ Charlesworth chap. She’s ace, and I would definitely believe anything she has to say on art, library closures and international politics. Although I did find the end of that film she wrote, where the Asian lass morphs into David Beckham, quite confusing.

    As for ‘The Clock’ being like a car crash – not sure about that. Is that something about brakes and wet roads? Anyhow loving this critical “ding dong” (geddit?)

  12. SlanderBlander said

    No, Zadie Smith’s just successful and clearly a fan of the cinema, as opposed to merely contemporary art, and her enthusiasm for The Clock as partly homage to cinema should put to rest JJ’s assertion that it instead negates the artform or ridicules it.

    Funnily enough Rian Johnson, director of the film Brick has just tweeted:

    My friend @taraville just told me there’s a clip from Brick in Marclay’s Clock exhibit!We’re in a museum!!!

    Now if JJ still thinks that The Clock raises a smug brow to film, I suppose he thinks he’s in on something that seems to pass even over the filmmakers’ heads whose work construct it.

  13. gnomeansland said

    Yea Zadie’s review is so perceptive. I love the way she ends ‘despite all my efforts to find a different moment, between childcare and work. I looked around the walls of the gallery where all the young people sat, hipsters, childless, with a sandwich in their bags and the will to stay till three in the morning. I envied them; hated them, even. They looked like they had all the time in the world.”
    Yes, yes yes ah no – its shite and superficial as is the Clock.

  14. Zadie Smith said

    I’m an idiot by the way.

  15. Fumer said

    Just a Minute… (oh dear god… sorry but I couldn’t help myself…)

    Ha ha…

    Or as they say on the internet LOL…

    Any way copyright… Fuck ’em. Steal the lot I say. Why should the law or what not tell my mind/brain collective what I can and cannot do in terms of making art… Bollocks to the boss class and it’s losses making them depressed and bent out of shape about artists profiting from their underpaid labor. Tosh! My artistic license is beyond the scope of their evil greedy eye. I can do what I like, indeed I have to… My job description says: I have to explore the edge, the frontier of consciousness, and come back to show those with less willingness/imagination/courage/ability etc what is there. This I can’t do if I have to tick box my way through a rules and regulations spread sheet.

    History is littered with great artists going all out to break the rules and smash the system…

    I’m sure JJ would agree…

  16. Mealy Mouth said

    i’m not totally with JJ.. I just think it’s shit and gimmicky..

  17. PG Rating said

    There was a programme on TV (think it was shown round Christmas in the UK time on BBC2 or maybe Channel 4 many moons ago??) which was made up entirely of sequences from films which take place on the stairs. It was cleverly edited so for example as the character fell down the stairs in one movie it cut to them landing at the bottom in another and so on. No idea who this programme was by but do recall at the end it had a long list of credits of all the films included. The stairs piece was great but at the same time unassuming – in a way it was everything that Clock isn’t. It made no pretensions to being in some way”art”, it didn’t need to be shown in a gallery, it’s maker)s) didn’t need to be feted as celebrity dicks or attend rich git celebrity bashes in Venice, it didn’t try to cash in on the originals, it credited all the films and didn’t pretend that this was fair usage or some other nonsense……

  18. Fat Nick said

    Yeah, its rubbish. But Ai Wei Wei is free. Ding Dong I say (and I’m not talking about a Chinese politician here)

  19. Christian Marclay said

    I think it’s “time” for a pint all round

  20. Spinoza said

    My my against a cornerstone of postmodernism AND against success. I don’t think anyone is saying his work is or should be protected while the Hollywood movies in his work should not – and in fact he isn’t protected from something similar happening to him.
    I believe his work has been appropriated in turn; I recall an ad a few years ago for a radio station in London that made funny collage people from record sleeve designs, or a telelcommunications ad made up of a montage of people speaking on the phone to form a new conversation to amusing effect. However I expect if we knew much about copyright law these are all different kinds of appropriation with different sets of laws- taking ideas or styles, or taking bits of material… I walked round the RCA show on Wednesday (aka the little men you speak of) and saw the former at ever turn.

  21. Jan Hammer said

    i’d rather watch cameron diaz’s arse in Bad Teacher

  22. Hobby Rigger said

    The clock is one great big dull piece of shit. It’s exactly the type of aesthetic that creatives in advertising get excited about – a tired idea that really takes us knowwhere – could be best as an iphone app but really not interesting.

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