Contemporary Art from the Collection
June 30, 2010 – September 12, 2011
Matta-Clark cut these fragments from the facade of a house in Niagara Falls, New York, that was about to be demolished by the local housing commission. Working with a small team over the course of ten days, he cut the facade into nine equivalent rectangles then removed each one until only the central rectangle remained, like the central section of a Bingo card. Minutes after they finished the extraction, the house was razed. The artist retained three sections and deposited the remaining five in a nearby sculpture park, where he hoped they would be "gradually reclaimed by the Niagara River Gorge."
Matta-Clark was raised in New York City, and he had witnessed firsthand the constant demolition of older buildings for the construction of new ones, the result of shifting real estate values. "Work with abandoned structures," he wrote around 1974, "began with my concern for the life of the city, of which a major side effect is the metabolization of old buildings." The presence of empty and neglected buildings in urban centers is "a reminder of the ongoing fallacy of renewal through modernization."