Dead Blogging ‘The [Round-the-] Clock’ Opening At The MFA

Saturday night at 7 o’clock, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts unveiled its new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art with a 24-hour extravaganza described this way in an MFA press release:

24-HOUR CELEBRATION SEPTEMBER 17–18 AT MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON, MARKS UNVEILING OF LINDE FAMILY WING FOR CONTEMPORARY ART, CULMINATING IN 12-HOUR FREE OPEN HOUSE 

BOSTON, MA (September 15, 2011)—The first opportunity to see the new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art will be offered September 17 through 18 when the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA ), unveils the Linde Wing for Contemporary Art with a 24-hour celebration.

Beginning with three ticketed parties starting at 7 p.m. on September 17, the festivities continue through the Museum’s free Open House, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Sunday, September 18.

Highlights of the celebration include the first chance to see the new galleries and exhibition Ellsworth Kelly: Wood Sculpture, as well as opportunities to enjoy performance arts pieces by Boston-area and internationally acclaimed artists; the screening of Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video, The Clock; musical performances; and film shorts.

Those “ticketed parties” created a bit of a hubbub in advance of the opening, but that soon dissipated in a flurry of local goodwill.

So the Missus and I trundled over (she was working; I was arm candy) to check out the rare Boston 24/1 scene, which was jam-packed from the start.

Some observations:

• Line cutters are the lowest form of social life.

• The Ellsworth Kelly exhibit is worth seeing if only for the staggering variety of woods he employed: birch, walnut, teak, maple, mahogany, English elm, redwood, sycamore, red oak, and four woods I’d never heard of before: wenge, padouk, sapele, and zebrawood.

As for the totem-like sculptures themselves (of which there are 30), I’m not smart enough to get the difference between “Diagonal with Curve XV” and “Diagonal with Curve XVI.” But I did like looking at them.

• Josiah McElheny’s excellent hall-of-mirrors piece “Endlessly Repeating Twentieth-Century Modernism” occupies prime real estate in the new wing.

• Like a solar eclipse, never look directly at museumniks while they’re eating. Because: 1) It’s like they haven’t eaten in weeks, with no apparent prospects for food in the future; and 2) A staggering number of them bring to mind the old phrase “putting on the feedbag.”

• Good neon sign on the wall: “All Art Has Been Contemporary.”

• Even better sign: Malcolm Rogers is truly the MFA director. He’s done something quite extraordinary here – opened not one, but two new wings (the splendid Art of the Americas wing opened just 10 months ago) in the space of a single year, making the MFA the most dynamic museum in America.

As for “The Clock,” the Missus and I never got to see it because the line was too long.

Then again, there’s plenty of time.

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