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About Gordon Matta-Clark

As one of the most important conceptual artists working in the 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark was a primary figure in the growth of the New York SoHo art scene from the late 1960s until his untimely death in August 1978. Like his father, the Surrealist painter Roberto Matta (1911–2002), Matta-Clark studied to be an architect, attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and earning a B.A. in 1968. His education at Cornell played a crucial role in the creation of his art, as architecture became his preferred subject matter.

Best known for slicing or making “cuts” (as he called them) into abandoned buildings to create drawings in space, Matta-Clark’s novel approach intermingled with, and transcended, some of the most significant art movements of the time—the environmental and often temporal qualities of Earth art (as exemplified in the work of his friend and fellow artist Robert Smithson), the human physicality of Performance art, and the institutional critique of Conceptual art. Matta-Clark documented his modified architectural structures, often called “anarchitecture” or “non-uments,” in collaged photographs as well as Super 8 and 16 mm films, which were later displayed in galleries and museums alongside the remaining fragments from the original buildings.

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