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The Liberty Bell in Liberty Bell Pavilion, 1976, by Christian Marclay

The Liberty Bell in Liberty Bell Pavilion, 1976, by Christian Marclay (b. 1955). © Independence National Historical Park


Museum Studies 7: Christian Marclay, The Bell and the Glass

May 17–July 27, 2003

In collaboration with Relâche, Inc. and Relâche Ensemble, the museum presents The Bell and the Glass by acclaimed composer and visual artist Christian Marclay (born 1955). This multimedia installation and its accompanying musical composition are inspired by the artist’s interest in two Philadelphia icons: the Liberty Bell and The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) by Marcel Duchamp, which is installed in gallery 182 of the Modern and Contemporary Art galleries.

The artist brings together this unlikely couple through four integrated components: a live music/sound performance by Relâche Ensemble, a photo-essay, a video composition, and an installation of objects selected by the artist from his collection, as well as from the holdings of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Independence National Historical Park, the Atwater Kent Museum, and other institutions.

Marclay’s longstanding interest in objects that were created to make sound but rendered silent and dysfunctional led him to juxtapose the Bell and the Glass. In their iconic cracks, the artist discovers a coincidental, shared celebrity—and a potential for music. A new musical score by Marclay draws on the musical legacy of the Bell and the Glass—including tunes written in celebration of the Bell, and a score by Marcel Duchamp, written while he was working on the Large Glass, also on exhibit. Marclay’s double-screen video projection incorporates footage of Marcel Duchamp, clips from Hollywood movies, and shots of the Liberty Bell and of the Duchamp galleries at the museum. The video is a score and teleprompter for musicians of the Relâche Ensemble.

The project is the seventh in a series of Museum Studies installations by living artists created specifically for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it is the fifth in the 2002/03 Future Sounds series by Relâche Ensemble.

Main Building


This project is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Relâche, Inc.

The Bell and the Glass was produced by Relâche Inc. under the Future Sounds commission series as Future Sounds V: Visible Audio, and by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as Museum Studies 7, part of an ongoing series of projects created by contemporary artists.


This project was made possible by the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia; and by The Rockefeller Foundation. Additional commission funding was provided by the Philadelphia Music Project, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by Settlement Music School.


Susan Rosenberg, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; Thaddeus A. Squire, Artistic & Executive Director, Relâche, Inc.

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