Full-Scale Gordon Matta-Clark Retrospective Opens
NEW YORK.- The first full-scale retrospective in twenty years
of the work of Gordon Matta-Clark will open at the Whitney Museum of
American Art on February 22, 2007. Gordon Matta-Clark: âYou Are the
Measureâ â which travels subsequently to the Museum of Contemporary
Art, Los Angeles â includes Matta-Clarkâs major works and presents
numerous projects. The exhibition's curator is Elisabeth Sussman,
Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney.
During the brief but highly productive decade that he worked as an
artist -- and even more so since his early death -- Gordon Matta-Clark
(1943-1978) has exerted a powerful influence on artists and architects
and has emerged as a key figure of the generation that came after
Minimalism. This retrospective celebrates the brilliance and radical
nature of his work in a number of different mediums: the sculptural
objects (most notably from building cuts), drawings, films,
photographs, notebooks and documentary material.
"Matta-Clark's engagement as an artist was integral with his ideas
of community,â notes curator Elisabeth Sussman. âAs a founder and
participant in the earliest performance spaces and an originator of the
now-famed artistâs restaurant, Food, he was a pioneer in the
transformation of lower New York into the artist's neighborhood SoHo.
His extraordinary career also developed in an international context.
His major cuts in buildings in Europe in Genoa, Antwerp, and Paris were
truly memorable as events and as unforgettable spatial experiences, as
were his comparable projects in New York and its environs: on the
Hudson piers, in tenements, beneath the cityâs bridges, streets, and in
suburban New Jersey."
The son of the Surrealist painter Roberto Echaurren Matta
(1911-2002), Gordon Matta-Clark was educated as an architect at
Cornell, but was drawn away from the formal practice of architecture
and attracted to art, with all its expanded possibilities. At Cornell,
in 1969, Matta-Clark assisted on the path-breaking Earth Art exhibition
that brought together a number of seminal figures, including Robert
His move to New York City quickly focused his attention on the
particularities of the urban context and on his own concrete spatial,
social, and psychological experience. By the early years of the 1970s,
Matta-Clark had come to see buildings, rooms, urban spaces,
neighborhoods, and places where people gather as situations in which
his planned interventions could create something new. His most
well-known interventions were his cuts into existing buildings,
resulting in incisions which shifted everyday experience into
extraordinary visual and kinetic confrontations. His work ensued as a
series of projects that included interactions with architecture and
space, community events, and collective activity.