Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art critic, film critic do battle in NY Magazine

This is definitely not a still from Christian Marclay's "The Clock." [Image: still from Disney's animated Cinderella wherein Cinderella transforms amidst a profusion of sparkle]

NY Magazine (which I receive in print form because it is the ultimate literature with which to stock the bathroom-- much better than Interview and Foreign Policy) regularly runs short art essays by mega-famous art critic Jerry Saltz (and the occasional feature: the "How To Make It In The Art World" issue was good). This week they paired Jerry Saltz with film critic David Edelstein to discuss Christian Marclay's video art piece, "The Clock." Saltz gushes over the "abstract narrative forms"; Edelstein calls the piece, "breathtakingly unimaginative."

Midnight for Cinderella [image: Cinderella breaks from Prince Charming's grasp as the clock strikes midnight]
It's a fun read, not too long, and I loved the down-to-Earth creative choice to pair the two critics. I'm also excited that the Art World is finally collectively excited about something cool instead of a stunning display of wasted wealth. As far as I know neither Louis Vuitton nor Fiat nor any of the other usual suspects have inane spin-offs, no custom yachts were involved, no platinum-dipped trains dangling over NY from a chain of diamonds.

Midnight for Pongo [Image: still from Disney's animated 1961 "The 101 Dalmations" wherein Pongo (the dalmation dude) looks on as Roger (the human dude) warms Pongo's sickly newborn puppy and gnaws anxiously on his pipe]

"The Clock" is just a 24-hour collection of movie clips where the time is shown, playing in real time in a theater. So the piece functions as an actual clock as well as a film.

Midnight for Ariel [image: still from Disney's animated Little Mermaid from the "kiss the girl" scene wherein Eric and Ariel are in a boat with fireflies lighting up and fish making a synchronized swimming fountain around them by spitting water]

I remember when someone or other made "24-Hour Psycho" by slowing the classic film frame by frame so it filled a 24-hour span. It came to a museum where I used to live and I got to spend some time watching it play out-- just 20 minutes or so, you'd have to be Bruce Nauman to sit through the whole thing-- and even with such a simple concept, actually experiencing the march of time in front of a screen in a gallery is an extremely powerful tool. I'm not surprised so many artists are engaging with it.

Midnight for Philip [Image: still from Disney's animated Sleeping Beauty wherein a rascally Maleficent (the evil witch / queen) holds a candle to illuminate Prince Philip (who is totally not the same person as Prince Charming or Eric) who is tied up in her attic]
 In case you haven't noticed I've illustrated this post with scenes of midnight around the Disney Princess universe ("princessphere"?). I was going to show Disney clocks striking various times chronologically throughout this post, but midnight seems to be featured disproportionately in the princessphere (along with the far less punctual, "final wilting of the really important flower") so I used what was available. I suppose Disney is doing their part to nurture that nagging suspicion that all the really cool stuff happens after you go to bed.

ETA: There's some more lite criticism of "The Clock" here. I'll post links to more as I run across it.
Midnight for Ursula [image: still from Disney's animated Little Mermaid wherein Ursula throws herself against a piece of coral in a melodramatic show of anguish]

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