Kenyon College

Gordon Matta-Clark


Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) was an American artist who split his childhood between Chile, France and the United States, settling down in Greenwich Village, NYC. Matta-Clark attended Cornell University from 1963-68 to study architecture. Described by the New York Times as a “rogue sculptor”, Matta-Clark was an activist whose conceptual oeuvre, which includes elements of video, film, photography, photo collage, sculpture and performance, rejected being confined by one medium or style. Much of Matta-Clark’s work is experimental and explores themes of the urban landscape, urban gentrification, and the commodification of art, in other words, “anarchitecture”, a term combining architecture and anarchy which he coined to describe the study of leftover space. In the 1970s, Matta-Clark became a founding member of an artist collective by the same name, and his collection of photographs was put on display anonymously at their show at 112 Greene St, in 1974. Anarchitecture’s collective spirit focused on a critique of capitalist architecture and a commitment to community. One of the most significant moments of Matta-Clark’s career was in 1971 when he and other artists opened FOOD, a restaurant in SOHO run by artists. Though only open for a few years, FOOD served as a space for artists and the community alike, becoming a hallmark of SOHO in the 1970s.