Matta-Clark received formal training as an architect at Cornell University, where he studied with Colin Rowe, a preeminent theorist of architectural modernism. Yet Matta-Clark did not practice architecture, which he considered a pretentious enterprise; instead he devised "anarchitecture," an alternative use of buildings entailing a rejection of what he called "the functionalist aspect of past-due Machine Age moralists." In Splitting and Circus—The Caribbean Orange, he literally dissected buildings, cutting and carving them into gravity-defying structures. The films and photocollages he made of these pieces dovetail with the experimental, disorienting quality of his architectural cuts, which constitute a denunciation not just of the functions of architecture but of the American dream of progress.
Gallery label from The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook, April 16, 2012–April 29, 2013.