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Israel, U.K., French Museums Buy Marclay’s ‘The Clock’ Video

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Christian Marclay's "The Clock" is a 24-hour video collage of clocks and watches from old cinema reels. The work has been jointly bought by the Tate in the U.K., the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Source: Israel Museum via Bloomberg

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” will forever transform cinema time into real time as museums in the U.K., Israel and France jointly acquired the 24-hour film.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem spent a low six-figure sum to jointly acquire the video collage with the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Tate in London.

“The Clock,” which is composed of thousands of film images that include clocks, watches or announcements that illuminate the passage of time, premiered in London in October 2010. The work drew about 3,500 visitors in the two days it ran for a full 24 hours in Jerusalem and overall it attracted 50,000 visitors.

“Given our commitment to contemporary art, this is a signature acquisition for us,” said Israel Museum Director James Snyder, who said the acquisition partners shared the cost of the purchase equally. He declined to elaborate on the price beyond the ballpark figure the museum paid.

Israel Museum acquired the piece with the help of the Ostrovsky Family Fund. The joint acquisition means that screenings will be coordinated among the partners so it is only on view at one venue at a time.

Snyder said that had Israel Museum bought the work alone, “it would have been the single largest acquisition of a video work” ever acquired by the museum. He said that all copies of the work sold for the same price.

To contact the writer on the story: Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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