Gordon Matta-Clark: Circus – The Caribbean Orange, an exhibition of Cibachromes and drawings curated by Jessamyn Fiore and Jane Crawford, marks the gallery’s sixth solo exhibition with the artist.
In February 1978 Matta-Clark was invited by the Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago to cut through an adjacent brownstone acquired by the museum to be converted into additional galleries.
The resulting “building cut,” Circus or The Caribbean Orange, infused the otherwise dark space with light and energy and transformed the building into sculpture. The project’s title alludes simultaneously to the cutting’s “three-ring” form and its making: Gordon Matta-Clark peeled three 20-foot diameter spheres from the building to create a collective performance space where the artist, visitors, and museum guards responsible for leading public tours were all equal participants.
Young Hoffman Gallery first exhibited work from Circus- The Caribbean Orange in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art in spring 1978. It was tragically Matta-Clark’s last building cut project because of his premature death of cancer in August of the same year. The related Cibachromes have rightly been acclaimed as some of the most visually complex in his photographic practice. Collages of cut photographs and color tape, the works mirror the multiple-perspective of the building deconstruction and serve as a lasting document to an impermanent project.
One of the most experimental and influential artists working in the 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark worked in the boundaries between architecture, sculpture, and performance art while dealing with issues of modern-day urbanism. Matta-Clark studied architecture at Cornell University primarily to be able to create sculpture out of buildings. An active community catalyst, he also co-founded the artist-run restaurant FOOD and group Anarchitecture, which included Laurie Anderson, Tina Girouard, Suzanne Harris, Jene Highstein, Richard Nonas and others. Gordon Matta-Clark participated in many international exhibitions including Documenta, the Paris Biennale, Museo de Bellas Artes, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville Paris, and others. The first posthumous retrospective of his work, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago in 1985, traveled to over a dozen museums worldwide. In 2008 the Whitney Museum of American Art organized the retrospective exhibition “Gordon Matta-Clark: You are the Measure,” which traveled to MCA – Chicago.