Tourist Tip #294 / Christian Marclay's 'The Clock'

Christian Marclay, a Swiss-American visual artist, stitches together a montage of film clips depicting time that has grabbed attention worldwide and now in Israel.

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They say time flies when you’re having fun, and judging by the vast number of people who have flocked to galleries and museums worldwide and waited long hours to plop down on a couch and watch artist Christian Marclay’s video work "The Clock" – this is some serious fun.

Marclay, a Swiss-American visual artist and avant-garde DJ, spent some three years making "The Clock," a 24-hour video montage of film clips that depict clocks, watches, people announcing the time and even a couple of hourglasses and sundials. The amazing feat here is that Marclay spliced the scenes together so impeccably that his cinematic timepiece is synced to local time – in other words, when the clock strikes noon, it’s actually noon and the same goes for every other minute of the day.

Marclay employed six assistants to sift through hours upon hours of footage, from the silent film era all the way to contemporary cinema (or at least up until 2010, when Marclay's work debuted at London’s White Cube gallery). There are familiar film stars here, such as Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Nicole Kidman, Richard Gere, Robert Redford and other celebs, as well as lesser-known or even obscure actors – all of whom keep an eye on time or talk about it. Some actors, like Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins, make more than one appearance in "The Clock" at different ages and stages in their careers, illustrating the passage of time in a different way.

Marclay’s piece, a copy of which was acquired by the Israel Museum for its contemporary art collection, premiered here in the fall of 2011, and is back by popular demand. There are two 24-hour screenings, the first running August 28 at 5 P.M. until the following evening and the second running from September 24 at 2 P.M. until the following afternoon.

The exhibition is on view from July 23 until October 16; that may sound like a lot of time, but it’s likely to fly by. So tick tock, get a move on.

Israel Museum, 11 Ruppin Blvd., Jerusalem

Check for the museum’s regular and summer hours, or call (02) 670-8811 for information.

Admission: NIS 50 for adults; NIS 37 for students; NIS 25 for children ages 5-17 and seniors.

Christian Marclay, "The Clock," 2010Credit: Ben Westoby / White Cube

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