Saturday, April 30, 2016

"On&by Christian Marclay" edited by Jean-Pierre Criqui (MIT Press)

"On&by Christian Marclay" edited by Jean-Pierre Criqui (MIT Press)

There are certain type of artists that I'm drawn to, and it's usually the one's that I share an interest with - for instance music.  Or to be more specific, the beauty of vinyl and its album cover.   When I go to a record store, it is not only to please the ear, but also the sight.  I love a well-designed or creative looking album cover.  To me, that is the perfect medium for art.  I suspect that Christian Marclay would feel the same way - or, at least he used to.  I discovered Marclay's work through his albums "More Encores" and "Record Without a Cover."  His work is conceptual as well as being a sculpture of sorts.  "Record Without a Cover" strikes me as a masterpiece to any true lover of vinyl.  It was sold as an album, but had no cover or anything to protect it from the elements, such as dirt, fingerprints and scratches.  In other words, each album was a unique and one-of-a-kind listening experience.  How would it be possible for me not to love this album, and therefore, the artist? 

"On&by Christian Marclay" is a book length study on his work with vinyl, recordings, film, sculptures and photography.   Editor Jean-Pierre Criqui has put together a fantastic collection of essays by superb writers such as Dennis Cooper, David Toop, Michael Snow, Rosalind Krauss, Wayne Koestenbaum and others.   The high quality of writing talent focusing on one writer can be the sole reason for getting this book - but also the first half is a series of interviews with Marclay by various writers as well.  In detail, one obtains a lot of information on Marclay's work methods as well as placement in 20th century art and all the byproduct of that world - specifically music and music making.  The book takes the reader to all his major works - including the über-popular film/video project "The Clock."  The film lasts 24 hours, and uses real time as you watch scenes from films that use a clock or mention time within the scene.  

Marclay is a wonder to me, because he plays as he works - and his work, on the surface, seems simple, but is actually quite complexed,  due to his skill and taking chances, but also the audience's or viewers love for vinyl and their own awareness of time and now it passes.  If I have to be a fuss-butt, I would say that this book needs examples of Marclay's art -there are no illustrations whatsoever.  Still, this book is essential, and Marclay is truly a great artist. 

ISBN: 978-0-262-52661-6 MIT Press

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