Born in New York to artists Anne Clark and Roberto Matta, Gordon Matta-Clark is widely considered one of the most influential artists of the 1970s. Known for his philosophy of “anarchitecture,” emphasizing an interest in voids, gaps, and empty spaces, Matta-Clark created a body of work that encompassed photography, film, video, performance, drawing, collage, and sculpture in the form of large-scale interventions into existing architecture.
He collaborated on Food, a combined restaurant and performance piece, as well as 112 Greene Street (with Jeffrey Lew), the first artist-run gallery in New York’s Soho. The lack of concern in addressing the city’s homeless situation led him to create the Dumpster Duplex for New York’s throwaway population, as well as a prototype shelter for the homeless in the form of Garbage Wall. In 1973, buoyed by the burgeoning community of graffiti artists, he began documenting that popular culture with black-and-white photographs. Some of these he ended up hand-coloring, as in his Photoglyphs.
His practice introduced contemporary and radical modes of physically exploring and subverting urban architecture, with some of his best-known projects involving laboriously cutting holes into floors and walls of abandoned buildings. He was also a key contributor to the expansion and development of the New York art world in Soho from the late 1960s until his untimely death in 1978.
BEYOND THE STREETS New York, 2019. Photo by Dan Bradica.