Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay

Exhibition: Dec 9, 1999 – Jan 16, 2000

At Artpace, Marclay has generated new bodies of work, which continue his investigations of the role music plays in culture. The artist has looked to Artpace’s immediate neighbor as a location for exhibiting his new work. Alamo Music Center, a store selling musical instruments, is the site for viewing custom-made instruments of Marclay’s design; a drum set that has been altered with cymbals and drums positioned at heights corresponding to their tonal qualities and a customized 12 -foot long accordion. These “instruments” are displayed in the store’s showroom.

Marclay’s work presented at Artpace consists of Christmas music records collected from San Antonio thrift shops and used record stores. The collection of a thousand albums, which range from Perry Como and Dolly Parton to a collection of promotional records distributed by True Value Hardware Stores form, an “archives-cum-lounge” of discs which Marclay has invited local DJs to spin. The gallery is set up as a lounge, with turntables and a sound system ready to mix schmaltzy holiday melodies into an unpredictable cacophony of abstract music.

The involvement of San Antonio’s music community is a crucial part of Marclay’s production at Artpace. By shifting functions of spaces and institutions, Marclay blurs the lines between the music and art disciplines. As media saturates our cultural landscape and image and sound are increasingly combined, Marclay offers a pause to consider how music is visualized and how the visual becomes sonic.


Christian Marclay

London, UK / New York, New York, USA

London and New York-based Christian Marclay was born in 1955 in San Rafael, California and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, where he studied art, eventually moving to the United States to complete his BFA at the Massachusetts College of Art.
The relationship between sound and image is central to Marclay’s work. He often incorporates music and musical instruments and has made sculptures from discarded CDs, melted vinyl records, sewn record covers together to create mixed media works, and created installations featuring musical instruments from museum collections. Performing and recording music is also an integral part of Marclay’s work. Using phonograph records as his “musical instruments,” he mixes altered records on multiple turntables in a display of precise manipulations. He has performed throughout Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States and has collaborated with many composers and musicians including Elliott Sharp, John Zorn, the Kronos Quartet, and Sonic Youth.
Marclay’s sculptures and installations have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and The Clocktower/PS 1, New York.

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Photo by Dominik Gigler

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