Gordon Matta-Clark Press Release


October 22—December 24, 1999

Opening on Friday, October 22, the gallery is pleased to announce its first exhibition of work by Gordon Matta-Clark. The gallery became the primary representative of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark in the summer of 1998. Considered to be one of the most important conceptual artists working in the 1970s, Matta-Clark was a key figure for much of the activity and growth of the New York art world in SoHo from the late 1960s until his death in August 1978.

From the beginning, Matta-Clark's methods incorporated an exploration and fusion of media. Using architecture, performance, sculpture, drawing, photography, and film, he sought a new way of seeing and art-making that focused on the commonplace and the "throwaways", such as the city's abandoned buildings, bridges, and even dumpsters. Best known for his building cuts, these later works came out of Matta-Clark's concern with making pieces from discarded objects. By recycling these materials and transforming them into recognizable objects, he created accretions of references to both the physical and the metaphorical. This exhibition will focus on the theme of recycling in the earlier works of Gordon Matta-Clark.

The gallery will present for the first time since 1970, a recreation of Garbage Wall, a work Matta-Clark constructed three times in a performance-like environment. The artist hoped that Garbage Wall would serve as a catalyst for others to create their own building structures utilizing abandoned materials. This wall was originally created for Alanna Heiss' Brooklyn Bridge Project; then again at St. Mark's Church in the East Village for a sculpture/performance piece called Homesteading, an Exercise in Curbside Living; and at 112 Greene Street–an alternative gallery which the artist founded in 1971 with Jeffrey Lew.

Glass Plant from 1971 furthers the idea of "recycling." By using various discarded bottles found around the city, which were then melted and fused into glass ingots, the artist created another available building material. Lead Circle and Square are fused elements that have been cast from milk cartons. The fourth project in this series, Dumpster Duplex was recently shown at P.S. 1 and is represented here by the film, Open House.

Matta-Clark not only employed what he called the fabric of New York City, but he also recycled his own work. Walls, is a series of black-and-white photographs of this "city-fabric." These images were transformed into Wallspaper, a wall installation done originally in 1972 at 112 Greene Street. The Wallspapers were also shown in stacks, where individual copies were offered gratis to the audience. Remaining Wallspapers were then turned into the Wallspaper book, of which there are two versions. Hair is Matta-Clark's effort to combine Body Art and the recycling theme. In this piece, a wig is suggested as a result of a hair cut. Another work, Blast from the Past, offers as a puzzle the recreation of an original pile of floor sweepings from Matta-Clark's loft.

Artist Biography

Exhibition Checklist