The Clock? Good. Donuts By A Lake? Better.

Despite insane thunderstorms and other odd occurances the band arrived safely at The Museum of Fine Arts Boston on Friday! Yay! Mike (whose plane was delayed due to weather!), Todd (who, while visiting family pre-show, got a scalding soup burn all over his hand!), David (our drummer for this show! whose water logged car stopped working once he reached the museum!) and  Drew, Brent & I (who made it in record time thanks to Brent's terrifying speed brought on by fear of being late due to weather! even with a stop off at Lakeside Diner in CT, pictured, whose homemade donuts I literally had a dream about last night, we made it with time to spare!) piled onto the theater stage in the MFA and performed to a room of those brave enough to fight the torrential downpours! When approaching the museum I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the space itself, of the towering columns and vast entrance system but it wasn't until I began setting up my foley gear in front of a huge, looming Frank Stella piece did I start to really see the scope of what was inside this space!

 Luckily enough we were able return to the museum the next morning to pick up our remaining gear and shuffle around the collection, a collection that is just as vast and impressive as the physical space itself! I mean seriously. Picassos, Van Goghs, Monets, Degas, Gauguins- it was like a whose who of the best of painting & sculpture with the additional landmarks of other, less recognizable but equally as compelling artists (like Max Beckmann!! Karel Appel!!)  and a brand new contemporary wing with some of my old favorites (Matthew Day Jackson, Kate Gilmore, Warhol) and new favorites (Sigalet Landau!). There is even some ancient art scattered around in separate galleries in the form of mummies and Greek vases and a current textile exhibit dedicated to the cloth of Britain during WWII (the propaganda scarves are amazing!). We even got to see the The Clock. (loquacious discussion about this piece after the jump!)

Whether negatively or positively Christian Marclay's video piece (a twenty-four hour loop of thousands of clips from feature films loosely depicting each minute of a clock) has been haunting me lately...and now I think I understand why. A collage of nicely edited film clips that mimic the MTV brain giving us intense snapshots of other fictional worlds yet grounding us through real time, The Clock extrapolates moments of a reality, a usually quick paced fake reality inside cinema that the up-to-the-minute media obssessed culture is consumed by, and slows them down into something useful, into a utilatarian function of a clock, embedded within all the glitter and glamor and emotion of cinema. Clock towers used to be a beacon of society, of government, of human advancement but in Marclay's piece the clock is stripped down to a prop in a film, functionally useful but in the most arresting setting imaginable: a museum theater filled with wasteful minutes of a static audience.

I'm not saying this is a waste of time at all, I think the piece is encapsulating a very real essence of current American culture that should be perseved, an empty bombardment of images complete with an inactive audience, but there is a fine line between recognizing the loss of time/the manufacturing of other worlds/our need for sensory stimulation and actually leaving the theater. But I guess the mere act of slowing down to watch this piece unfold is an act of cultural defiance in itself, fulfilling our want of image and sound but doing so without the pretense of any other fulfillment (or advertiseing), an almost meditation on the "real world" outside the film, all while acting as a ticking time piece marking our inaction in a much greater sense. The other part of this piece that I think lends to it's popularity is familarity. Watching this patchwork of minutes made me filled with recognition, it made me recall an entire field of memories I don't normally access, every film I have ever seen coming to the surface in a weird flood almost solidifying the existence of these alternate realities. Overall The Clock is (unfortunately) a perfect example of contemporary art and American culture as a whole: images, sounds, forms, time hurtling by, getting somewhere but to what end? To the continuous end of the spinning clock, an end I think we all have been realizing is a cycle that needs to be broken.

Thanks so very much to the MFA for our New England art experience! And a very special thanks to one audience member at this show, the curator who introduced Brent & I one fateful day in a gallery four years ago resulting in the very thing we were all gathered together for in Boston, Gravity! Thanks again!



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.