Christian Marclay

An appreciation of the multidisciplinary artist's ingenious combinations of sound and vision.

Survey by Jennifer González, Interview by Kim Gordon, Focus by Matthew Higgs, Artist's Choice by Blaise Cendrars, Writings by Christian Marclay


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About the book
Christian Marclay (b.1955) works across numerous visual media - sculpture, installation, performance, found objects and collage - alongside music and its artefacts, to create a unique, multidisciplinary art. Also a musician, composer and DJ, in his visual works he sometimes evokes the memory of music, such as The Beatles (1989), a pillow crocheted out of Beatles audiotapes. Elsewhere he examines the clichéd images of music-making, for example, those found on LP record covers - charismatic classical music conductors, smiling Easy Listening girls and sultry rock stars. These are then carefully sewn together to form hybrid, often humorous figures (Body Mix, 1991-93).

A respected musician who has collaborated with John Zorn, Elliott Sharp and others, Marclay has presented his unique sound and vision artworks at the Whitney Biennial, New York (1991 and 2002), and at the Venice Biennale (1995 and 1999), among many other key international exhibitions. A major travelling retrospective of the artist originated at the Hammer Museum, UCLA, in 2003 and ended its tour at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, in February 2005. The highlight was his tour de force Video Quartet (2003), a four-screen installation combining Hollywood film clips associated with music, edited together with virtuoso precision.

Art historian and critic Jennifer Gonzalez examines in her Survey Marclay's output primarily as a visual artist, while the Interview with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon concentrates on his collaborations with musicians and his performance work.  Art critic and curator Matthew Higgs looks closely at the structure and content of the immensely complex, highly enjoyable Video Quartet. The Artist's Choice is The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jeanne of France by Swiss poet and novelist Blaise Cendrars. Like the artist, Cendrars worked across various disciplines. The Artist's Writings includes a spliced interview specially created by Marclay for this volume.

In The Press

'The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about.' (Artforum)

'The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art.' (Time Out)

'A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists.' (The Sunday Times)

About the author(s)

Jennifer González is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her writings have appeared in Frieze, Art Journal and Diacritics. She has also contributed to The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (1995), With Other Eyes: Looking at Race and Gender in Visual Culture (1999) and Race in Cyberspace (2000). Recipient of the Joanne Cassullo Teaching Fellowship, she teaches on the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.

Kim Gordon is a visual artist originally from Los Angeles. She relocated to New York in 1979 and, with partner Thurston Moore, founded the experimental punk band Sonic Youth. She continues to work as an artist, with recent exhibitions Participant Inc. (2003) and Reena Spaulings Fine Art (2004) in New York, and at South London Gallery (2006).

Matthew Higgs is an artist, writer and curator based in New York. His writings have appeared in Artforum, Art Monthly, Afterall and in numberous exhibition catalogues. He is currently Director and Chief Curator of White Columns, New York.

Lucy Orta
Roman Signer
Uta Barth
Lawrence Weiner
Anri Sala