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: You Are the Measure which travels subsequently to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles includes Matta-Clarks 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, notes curator Elisabeth Sussman. As a founder and participant in the earliest performance spaces and an originator of the now-famed artists 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 citys 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 Smithson.
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.