A Cut Above
Edited by Craig Kellogg -- Interior Design, 1/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Enfant terrible Gordon Matta-Clark would have been 64 years old this year. Instead he died at 35 from cancer, in 1978.
A Cornell University–trained architect, though he never practiced, Matta-Clark took a chain saw to abandoned buildings and made them his canvases—temporary works from which only sculptural fragments, preparatory cut sketches, and cut drawings are now left behind. He was part of a movement called "anarchitecture" that dealt with the literal deconstruction of buildings. And this was a decade before the deconstructivist movement tackled the subject.
A full-scale retrospective at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art, "Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure," examines his productive 10-year career in mediums including film and photography as well as the "building cuts." Clinging bits of plaster and linoleum attach a haunting sense of history in his Bronx Floors: Threshold. Black-and-white and Cibachrome images of his second-to-last architectural project, an abandoned Belgian office building, show how his teardrop cutouts infused a sense of light and space into an otherwise grim five-story interior. If any of this looks eerily familiar, that may be because echoes from his interventions pop up today in projects from talents such as Steven Holl and Rachel Whiteread.
February 22–June 3; 800-944-8639; whitney.org.