Gordon Matta-Clark and friends performing
"Tree Dance" at Vassar
College, Poughkeepsie, New York, 1971
Courtesy the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark and David Zwirner, New York
often did Gordon see his father?
Matta left and didn't reappear until Gordon fell ill, but there were
letters. His father was in on Gordon's decision to go to architecture
school. He sent paintings to be sold so that Gordon, his brother
Sebastian, and Anne could buy a house in Sag Harbor and later Gordon's
loft on Wooster Street. Matta was around when Gordon was making Conical
Intersect in Paris in 1975, when he cut through 8 inches of masonry in
an abandoned building, creating a circular cut in fifteen days. Matta was
connecting, but it wasn't close. Then, in 1977, he famously spat into the
excavation Gordon made at Yvon
Lambert. But then he came back when Gordon developed cancer and made
sure Gordon got married. He wasn't your greatest father. Nor was Anne
Clark the greatest mother. But Gordon had it together.
(Tree forms), 1971
Horace H. Solomon,
Generali Foundation, Vienna
his drawings informed by his father's work?
a sense in Roberto Matta's drawings of energy systems and a psychological
space that's architectural.
Matta-Clark's drawings are oddly
He’s tracking. The drawings look like situationist
maps. His photographs are documents, but he wasn't satisfied with that,
and so he turned the photographs into abstract spatial systems.
Floors: Threshold (Boston Post Road, Bronx), 1973
of Anita Grossman Solomon,
of Gordon Matta-Clark,
Sheldan C. Collins
Initially, Matta-Clark moved in a kind of messianic, art
historical limbo between Happenings, Performance Art, and Post-Minimalism.
How did he become the designated driver of Conceptual Art?
happened in waves. Following the death of Smithson,
rediscovered Gordon for a new generation, fitting him into the
architectural and theoretical world. Gordon was accepted in the '80s by
people doing theory. He was exciting because he wouldn't fit into
categories. Now the categories had to be re-thought to accommodate him.
People compared Matta-Clark to Robert Smithson, who was a towering
intellect, while Matta-Clark was more down to earth.
The Museum of
Contemporary Art, Los Angeles;
and promised gift of Blake Byrne
of Gordon Matta-Clark,
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
does the Whitney exhibition reveal that previous exhibitions haven't?
brings out Matta-Clark's elegance as an artist. His poetic politics make
him attractive. He was socially committed, but he wasn't concerned with
identity or gender politics.
Museum of Contemporary Art,
restricted gift of Mr.
and Mrs. E. A. Bergman
and Lewis Manilow
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
he was interested in alternative communities?
tried Social Activism in a factory near Milan, where young Marxists
conducted a sit-in. In 1975, he was criticized for his Conical
Intersect by hard-line Marxist leftists in Paris, who called him a
playboy. I wanted to introduce a paradigm shift in this exhibition, to
avoid the word "conceptual" in relation to Gordon altogether. The term is
more descriptive of somebody lacking a human side, while Gordon was always
very interested in people, as can be seen in Splitting, 1974, or a
when he created homes for the homeless or dispensed oxygen from his
Fresh Air Cart in 1972. He was both a humanist and a conceptualist,
appealing to a sense of being on the edge that we know from extreme sports.