Gordon Matta-Clark

American (New York City, New York, 1943 - 1978, Nyack, New York)

The son of artists, Gordon Matta-Clark studied architecture at Cornell University, but he never practiced that discipline as it is usually conceived. Instead, his artworks took architecture as their subject matter in order to analyze the built environment. He is best known for cutting into and removing sections of buildings. These projects challenge our assumptions about the solidity of architecture and expose the tenuousness of the division between inside and outside, public and private. Ambitious in scale, they were utterly ephemeral, and survive only in photographic and film documentation and in sculptural fragments. Matta-Clark's work, which also included drawings and freestanding objects, reflects his passionate involvement with issues of the urban environment and public space. He died of pancreatic cancer at age 35.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

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