Best Of 2001

Best Museum Exhibit Of 2001: Christian Marclay

For those who go to the St. Louis Art Museum to get away from the banality of television, Christian Marclay's Currents exhibition might have been cause for revulsion. There in the middle of the gallery was a big boob tube showing Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup, but the sound didn't match David Hemmings' sojourn into '60s cool. Rather, Marclay dubbed the audio of Brian De Palma's Blow Out and superimposed it on Antonioni's imagery. Anyone who's spent a few hours in front of the TV stoned has done similar things (play Tommy while you're watching Snow White and get the giggles), but some of the most stony ideas make for the best museum experiences. Marclay knows that TV is for fooling around with, not for getting huffy about. "Telephones," seven-and-a-half minutes of spliced movie clips showing telephones ringing, telephones being answered, telephones being dialed, telephones being hung up by an array of bit players and stars -- Barbara Stanwyck can cry into a telephone better than anybody -- was a piece worth the noise (ring, ring) it made in the other galleries. There's no escape from TV.

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