Case Study: Alice meets The Clock

This past weekend was one of closure for several shows on offer within Toronto’s artistic programme. The Clock, Christian Marclay’s champion effort to evoke the romantic and elusive nature of time as regarded through the cinematic lens, saw its final moments at The Power Plant on the evening of Sunday, November 25. The single channel video and sound work is cleverly comprised of film clips displaying timepieces – analog wristwatches, digital alarm clocks, and the sundials of bygone days—as well as less obvious indicators of time’s passing, such as burning cigarettes and changing clothing. Over the course of Marclay’s 24 hour film loop, these fragments of cinematic history trace every minute, inscribing images on the rote of daily living. When Eastern Standard Time registered midnight last Sunday, the collaged narrative concluded with a coordinated time stamp of 12 AM. Luckily for Canadians, omnipotent art lovers Jay Smith and Laura Rapp facilitated the National Gallery’s purchase of one of six editions of the art work, guaranteeing that it will only be a matter of time before The Clock strikes again.

Christian Marclay’s appropriation of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, 1923
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Exhibition: Chelsea Lately

Every autumn the urban area inscribed by 12th and 6th Avenues + W 14th and W 34th Streets—New York’s Chelsea district—offers up its fall programme to art lovers thirsty after summer’s annual drought. At this time of year, Saturday’s order of the day becomes promiscuous trysts amongst partners like Marianne Boesky, Galerie Lelong, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and Mary Boone Gallery. Depending on the gallery’s stamina, each encounter might last between 7 and 20 minutes. Paused by lunch at Pepe Giallo and ending with refreshments at The Half King, gallery-goers return home well sated, visually and gastronomically.

Thomas Hirschhorn: Concordia, Concordia, 2012
Installation
Gladstone Gallery, NY

In the wake of the tumult that Hurricane Sandy recently waged on this internationally important art district, my tour back in late September has taken on uncanny prophesy. Thomas Hirschhorn’s upended ship hull at Gladstone Gallery and Rosemary Laing’s sky-born trees gripping half-built houses now seem to have forecasted the impending deluge. Reading Jerry Saltz’s sobering account of flooded ground level galleries and the reticent discarding of unsalvageable, water-logged art reminds me that Chelsea remains a unique environment where commercial enterprise abuts critical engagement. Moreover, a dialogue surrounding artwork that is indulgent, as is sometimes presented by superdealers like Larry Gagosian, has a place among discussions of more compelling work.

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