Gordon Matta-Clark: Physical Poetics

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Univ of California Press, Mar 26, 2019 - Art - 560 pages
Bringing a poet’s perspective to an artist’s archive, this highly original book examines wordplay in the art and thought of American artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978). A pivotal figure in the postminimalist generation who was also the son of a prominent Surrealist, Matta-Clark was a leader in the downtown artists' community in New York in the 1970s, and is widely seen as a pioneer of what has come to be known as social practice art. He is celebrated for his “anarchitectural” environments and performances, and the films, photographs, drawings, and sculptural fragments with which his site-specific work was documented. In studies of his career, the artist’s provocative and vivid language is referenced constantly. Yet the verbal aspect of his practice has not previously been examined in its own right. Blending close readings of Matta-Clark’s visual and verbal creations with reception history and critical biography, this extensively researched study engages with the linguistic and semiotic forms in Matta-Clark’s art, forms that activate what he called the “poetics of psycho-locus” and “total (semiotic) system.” Examining notes, statements, titles, letters, and interviews in light of what they reveal about his work at large, Frances Richard unearths archival, biographical, and historical information, linking Matta-Clark to Conceptualist peers and Surrealist and Dada forebears. Gordon Matta-Clark: Physical Poetics explores the paradoxical durability of Matta-Clark’s language, and its role in an aggressively physical oeuvre whose major works have been destroyed.
 

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Contents

Introduction confusion guided by a clear sense
1
gordon mattaclark and the political
6
Walking and Reading
14
A step taken in the fog
33
AVAILABLE
66
Arche and the Alpha Privative
79
Ambiguity Is All
81
best lated wishes
100
layered reality Thin Edge and Space Between
231
Immune versus Cancer Cells
249
Psychological Morphology
262
Noguchi
278
Étant
296
Bullet Holes
309
The Alchemical Pun
337
We chose to build a world of our own 351 351
351

Another name more or less the same
125
Venn Diagram
143
To the meeting and the mob again
156
making not solving problems
171
The Irrational Village and the Nonument
186
Monument Nonument and SiteNonsite
201
The Islands 216 216
216
spacism
367
Window BlowOut
385
Violent Space security measures and the sign post anarchie
402
A finetuned language and logic of the body
422
Acknowledgments
437
Notes 441
505
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Frances Richard is the author of three books of poetry, coauthor of Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Fake Estates,” and editor of Joan Jonas is on our mind and I Stand in My Place with My Own Day Here: Site-Specific Art at The New School. She teaches at the California College of the Arts.