On display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, people were confused when they walked up to view what appeared to be a grandfather clock…only to see that it had been mysteriously covered with a white sheet. If it’s at the museum, shouldn’t it be on display? Was something wrong with it? And then they were stunned when they realized exactly what they were looking at.
The ‘Ghost Clock’ was mesmerizing.Carved in 1985, Wendell Castle created the illusion of a grandfather clock covered in soft white cloth by carving it out of a single piece of laminated mahogany. He bleached the “cloth” and stained the “clock” to give people the sense that they were looking at something completely different than what was standing before them. This work is the last in a series of thirteen clocks the artist created in the 1980s; unlike the others, it lacks an inner mechanism. Its haunting stillness and silence suggest eternity – the absence of time.” The description reads.
The sculpture can’t be explained by a photograph alone. Even the most detailed pictures will fool the eye. The way the “cloth” interacts with the “clock” underneath is so realistic that people have a hard time believe what they are seeing…even when they are looking right at it!