Gordon Matta-Clark’s New York: The City and the Artist (1971-76)
Gordon Matta-Clark’s New York:
The City and the Artist (1971-76)
Wednesday, April 20 / 6:15 PM / Michelson Theater
1970s New York was Gordon Matta-Clark’s playground, laboratory, and studio. While for many, the city’s dilapidated infrastructure seemed symptomatic of its decline, for Matta-Clark it held artistic potential and presented opportunities for urban reappropriation. A trained architect, Matta-Clark is best remembered for his “building cuts” in which he literally cleaved buildings to expose their inner structures and materials. His oeuvre also includes sculptures, drawings, photographs, and films, most of which use the city as raw material.
This screening presents a cross-section of Matta-Clark’s films made in New York, between 1971 and 1976, in an effort to understand the relationship between his artistic practice and the local urban environment that inspired it. Functioning as both records of his physical interventions – all of which were subsequently destroyed – and documentaries of his laborious process, these films extend and amplify his conceptual work by questioning how the un-doing of urban space opens up new modes of understanding the city.
This event is organized and moderated by Cortland Rankin (PhD Candidate, Department of Cinema Studies, NYU) whose dissertation interrogates the roles of architectural degradation and urban nature in cinematic representations of New York in Hollywood, documentary, and avant-garde films from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s.
Free and open to the public.
All works will be screened digitally.
1971, 9:47 min, color, silent, Super 8mm film on video
In 1971 Matta-Clark produced works for the exhibition Brooklyn Bridge Event. This film records his process of making a sculpture — a small wall made of rubbish, waste paper and tin cans collected from the area.
1972, 12:56 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on video
This film records the complete process of the destruction of Matta-Clark's truck (which he called "Herman Meydag") by a bulldozer in a rubbish dump. Part of 98.5, a compilation of films by Ed Baynard, George Schneeman and Charles Simons, this piece was shown in Documenta 5 in Kassel, Germany.
Camera: Burt Spielvogel, Rudy Burkhardt. Producer: Holly Solomon, Burt Spielvogel.
1974, 10:50 min, b&w and color, silent, Super 8mm film on video
This film documents the major building cut made by Matta-Clark in a house on Humphrey Street in Englewood, New Jersey.
1975, 23:10 min, color, silent, Super 8mm film on video
In May 1972, Matta-Clark worked on an abandoned pier in New York for two months, where he cut sections of the door, floor, and roof.
Camera: Betsy Susler.
1976, 15 min, color, silent, Super 8mm film on video
This film is a formal investigation of New York's urban architecture. The film was planned to be projected on the exterior facade of a building, and was shown for the first time in the open air exhibition ARCADES and later in the Holly Solomon Gallery.