In The Clock, common themes surround each hour of the day. Whether in an old black-and-white film or in a French neo-noir, breakfast is eaten at breakfast time. Actors in every film struggle with punctuality each time the hour comes to a close. The attention of the everyday employee is directed towards the clock as five o’clock nears.
During our screenings last year, audiences mirrored this effect. The morning crowd would saunter in, still waking up, downing their lattes before heading into the theater, while the actors on screen started their own coffee pots. The late-night crowd’s rowdiness mimicked the intensity of the midnight hour in the film. The Clock, in an uncanny and subtle fashion, illuminates how our daily lives bend to the will of time.
Inspired by this idea, a quick look through our collections online reveals a similar motif of art bound to time. Below are pairings from our collection that combine a clock showing a specific time with an artwork depicting daily life during that time of day. The subjects in these works, like the actors in Marclay’s film, carry about their days unknowingly bound to the clock.
6:10 AM—The early morning hours
Georg Metzner, Table Clock and Case, c. 1650, William Randolph Hearst Collection
Kawase Hasui, Morning at Dotonbori, Osaka, February 14, 1921, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda
9:07 AM—Late to work
Gustave Bovy-Serrurier, Serrurier-Bovy's Workshop, Clock, c. 1905, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans
John Gutmann, Sunset Boulevard at Figueroa Street, 1948, printed later, gift of John Gutmann
Karl Emanuel Martin (Kem) Weber, Lawson Time Inc., ‘Zephyr' Clock, c. 1938, purchased with funds provided by Maura and Mark Resnick
China, Meeting of the Bodhisattvas Manjusri (Wenshu) and Samantabhadra (Puxian), Inscribed with a thirty-four-character dedication, dated 742, middle Tang dynasty, gift of Henry and Ruth Trubner, estate of Hedwig Worch
Hendrik Berlage, Becht & Dyserinck, ‘t Binnenhuis Ltd. (The Interior), Clock, 1903-1913, gift of Max Palevsky
Seated Couple Preparing and Eating Food, Mexico, Nayarit, Nayarit, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch
7:37 PM—Gathering for supper
Howell & James, Lewis F. Day, Clock, c. 1878, Decorative Arts Deaccession Funds
Filippo Tarchiani, The Supper at Emmaus, c. 1625, William Randolph Hearst Collection
11:15 PM—Dream a little dream
Johann Frederick Ebelein, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Mantle Clock and Plinth, c. 1745, gift of Mr. Jack Linsky
Bangs, Frank C., Untitled (Bonnie Maud), c. 1910, The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin
4:37 AM—Sleep becomes them
L. and J. G. Stickley, Tall Case Clock, circa 1906-1912, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans
Hermann A. Scherer, Sleeping Woman with Boy, 1926, gift of Anna Bing Arnold
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