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Indepth Arts News:

"Christian Marclay: 1980 to Present"
2003-09-28 until 2003-12-19
Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, USA United States of America

From September 28 through December 19, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College presents Christian Marclay, the first in-depth American retrospective of the innovative artist and experimental music performer, organized by the UCLA Hammer Museum and curated by Russell Ferguson, chief curator at the Hammer Museum. Christian Marclay comprises more than 80 remarkable artworks, from 1980 to the present, ranging from collage and sculpture to installation and video.

Marclay's body of work reflects his interest in bridging the gulf between what we hear and what we see and exploring the connection between the two. Among the pieces are Recycled Records (1980–1986), The Beatles (1989), Virtuoso (2000), Guitar Drag (2000), Video Quartet (2002), and a group of photographs on view for the first time. This diverse body of work brings together various disciplines—music, visual art, and performance—that establish Marclay as an artist who confidently spans the realms of music and contemporary art.

This exhibition introduces museum visitors to Marclay's multifaceted work and allows for scrutiny of his artistic development since 1980. Organized loosely by chronology, it includes altered records, album covers that have been collaged and sewn together, monstrous and beautifully distorted musical instruments, and large-scale video works. The exhibition reflects Marclay's use of many different media to explore the associations between the visual and the audible.

"Christian Marclay, as an artist and member of the avant-garde music scene, has continuously explored the process of seeing and hearing music," said Ferguson, the exhibition's curator. "His innovative use of visual and audible materials has resulted in a body of work that is challenging, compelling, witty, and often highly serious."

As a musician and DJ, Marclay began to incorporate scratched, broken, and otherwise altered LP records into his performances in the early 1980s. Recycled Records are radical collages of these reassembled vinyl records. Still playable on the turntable, they were Marclay's first objects to stand alone as visual works of art. The exhibition features half a dozen collages from this early series, as well as other examples of modified records, created later, such as a record with a padlock, one with no grooves, and melted records. In addition to actual LPs, Marclay uses album covers as a medium, resulting in a group of work called Imaginary Records that explores music's social functions.

Marclay has often incorporated objects—such as stereo speakers, telephone receivers, and magnetic tape—into sculptures over the past 20 years. One such work, The Beatles, collected works of the Beatles on audiotape crocheted into a pillow. It is indicative of Marclay's desire not only to present sound in a physical form, but to explore its deeper social meanings. The sculpture reflects the comfort and personal familiarity Marclay and millions of others shared with the Beatles and their music.

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