Christian Marclay

Graffiti Composition


Not on view
Portfolio of 150 digital prints
sheet (each): 13 x 8 7/16" (33 x 21.5 cm)
(of box) Wendy Furman
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Muse X Editions, Los Angeles, Star Link Company, Inc., Torrance CA, Meridian Printing, East Greenwich, RI
(of box) Portfolio Box Inc., Pawtucket, RI
Donald B. Marron Fund
Object number
© 2015 Christian Marclay
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
Christian Marclay has 11 works online.
There are 17,184 prints online.

Marclay, an artist who has been exploring visual and audio crosscurrents for twenty years, plastered more than five thousand blank musical notation sheets in public spaces throughout Berlin during a month-long sound festival in 1996. Members of the public filled them in with standard musical notations as well as scribbles, drawings, and random marks. Marclay then photographed the graffitied sheets, selected 150 from the group, and compiled them into a book, creating a musical score. This selection of prints makes visible the usually intangible elements of music, like beat and rhythm.

Gallery label from Out of Time: A Contemporary View, August 30, 2006–April 9, 2007

Additional text

Trained in the visual arts while also experimenting with music, Christian Marclay emerged in the 1980s as a crossover artist, fusing the worlds of music, fine art, and performance. His work comprises sculpture, collage, and installation, and invariably includes records, album covers, and musical instruments, all rendered unusable and surreal through restructuring and distortion. He also continues to compose and perform music and produces videos that ingeniously integrate clips about the meaning and production of sound.

Marclay's innovative approach to printmaking reflects his fascination with the vinyl record, which itself is an object that has been engraved. In 1990, at the invitation of Judith Solodkin of Solo Press, Marclay completed this print using records as readymade printing plates, just as a traditional printmaker uses a copperplate or woodblock. First he experimented with several monotypes, fine-tuning the printing process so that the records would not crack. To make this Untitled edition, he selected a variety of 10- and 12-inch records (all old 78 RPMs with wide grooves), placed them in a specially designed support to prevent breakage, then inked them using a roller and ran them through the press. The overlapping ghostlike representations on the paper capture the variety of moirT patterns and concentric designs that the printed records produced. Mimicking the commercial four-color printing process, Marclay mixed black ink with yellow, magenta, and cyan, producing further optical vibrations.

While at Solo Press, Marclay also experimented with printing records on old Beatles' album covers. In the late 1990s, with Goya-Girl Press in Baltimore, he began a series of photolithographs based on snapshots of instruments. More recently he printed a boxed set of digital prints at Muse [X] Editions in Los Angeles that documents a project involving musical scores posted on the streets of Berlin. Marclay has also created printed works to "publicize" fictional performances and recordings, as well as several editioned multiples that reflect his fascination with objects that create sound.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 248

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053;; Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124;;

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information, or have spotted an error, please send feedback to