Marclay Madness on north blvd.
Micro-cinema enthusiasts gathered on Friday evening at Molly Gochman's North Boulevard studio for the landmark Aurora Awards Dinner, the 10th annual event of its kind hosted by the Aurora Picture Show. The Aurora Award was presented to media artist Christian Marclay by San Antonio artist Justin Boy (who worked with Marclay at Artpace).
The award represents Aurora's selection of the most extraordinarily original talent in the field of media and multimedia art. Over the past decade, the event has brought such luminaries as Ant Farm and Laurie Anderson to Houston.
Marclay himself and his "theater of found sound" were ever present as his latest work, The Clock, screened inside Gochman's studio. Attendees viewed a portion of the 24-hour work, hypnotized by the stitching together of clips from more than 3,000 films, all of which contain an image of a clock or watch. The Clock has been hailed as one of the dadaist filmmaker's greatest achievements, and having won the attention of critics only a fortnight ago at London's Frieze Art Fair, was a very special engagement indeed.
Edited over the course of two years, the work's sequence was perfectly attuned to the dinner's real time. As The Clock flipped from scenes across decades and color spectrums, the time depicted on actors' and Aurora guests' watches kept in sync. Robert Downey Jr. checking Sherlock Holmes' pocket watch would seamlessly flow into Charlie Sheen keeping track of time in Wall Street, all spliced between scenes of James Bond and Hollywood's golden years.
The studio's guests sat enraptured by the quicksilver sequence of melodramatic tension and comic relief. The Clock, which is otherwise only on view at London's White Cube and the British Artists Show in Nottingham, embodies what Aurora strives to present: Work that is at once a conceptual powerhouse, as well as an immensely entertaining video.
Despite the enchanting cinematic clock, the address by the video turntable pioneer made for the night's climax. A modest Marclay thanked Aurora and its supporters.
"I'm really pleased to be here, but the real reason we're here tonight is for Aurora," he said. "Keep bringing interesting films to Houston."
Caught up in Marclay's time loop were Aurora executive director Delicia Harvey, curator Mary Magsamen and Aurora board president Sorcha Landau. Also among those who snagged a seat at the sold-out event were Contemporary Arts Museum senior curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, Project Row House's Rick Lowe, gallerista Zoya Tomy and Mary Ellen Carroll.
Table purchasers were presented a new catalogue titled Fourth of July with an essay by Jean-Pierre Criqui that accompanied Marclay's 2010 photo exhibition at New York's Paula Cooper Gallery.