Qualifying the ancient Greek saying 'Man is the measure', Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) asserted instead 'You are the measure', conveying the defining theme in an oeuvre that would exert a powerful influence on fellow artists and architects. In artworks that combined minimalist, conceptual, and performative practices, Matta-Clark gave primary importance to the individual and considerations of everyday life. This comprehensive book incorporates important new information from the Matta-Clark archive, presenting a compelling reappraisal of the unique beauty and radical nature of Matta-Clark's punnings, plans, performances, and interventions evident in the many media in which he worked: sculptural objects (most notably from building cuts), drawings, films, photographs, and documentary material. The son of Chilean Surrealist painter Roberto Matta and godson of Marcel Duchamp, Matta-Clark trained as an architect. He is renowned for his poignant use of urban landscapes, creating many site-specific works (often outside of a museum or gallery context) in New York.
In this handsome book, distinguished scholars of contemporary art provide new insights into Matta-Clark's work: the reception of his art during his lifetime; the impact of his socially engaged lifestyle; the significance of his European contacts; his photography, in particular his collages that have not been thoroughly explored; his preoccupation with food and communal eating; and much more.
Elisabeth Sussman is curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography; Joan Simon is curator-at-large; Tina Kukielski is senior curatorial assistant, all at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Briony Fer is professor, history of art, University College, London. Gwendolyn Owens is a writer associated with the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. Christian Scheidemann is an independent conservator. Spyros Papapetros is professor, history of architecture, at Princeton University.