The mythological-like status associated with Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) and his work, stems in part from his pre-mature death at the age of 35, but should not be doubted. That is proved in the current retrospective, Gordon Matta-Clark: “You Are the Measure,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art on view through June.
A prolific body of work that spanned a decade, Matta-Clark studied architecture at Cornell, but was frustrated by its pedagogical hierarchies. Instead, he used architecture as a base for artistic explorations of space. Working in New York during the 1970s, Matta-Clark was drawn to the abandoned and deteriorating neighborhoods of the city. Known for his building cuts, these “interventions” challenge traditional spatial understanding. “By opening up these spaces through removal,” the exhibition text explains, “he created new views through space, unexpected perspectives, and new relationships between the standard conditions of architecture: walls, doors, and ceilings.” The exhibit conveys Matta-Clark's working process through a combination of building cut artifacts, drawings, films, photographs, and photocollages, reaffirming Matta-Clark's dynamic engagement with the built environment.