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Anthony Vidler on Gordon Matta-Clark

Gordon Matta-Clark, Bingo, 1974. Installation view, Niagara Falls, New York.

THE “DILEMMAS” OF Gordon Matta-Clark, to cite the title of Liza Bear’s celebrated 1976 interview with the artist, were not entirely of his own making. They were more the result of an increasingly specialized world of art criticism and practice, a world that was, despite the attempts of successive avant-gardes since the Futurists, still more or less divided along traditional lines. It was Matta-Clark’s apparent indifference to these divisions—between sculpture and architecture, photography and film, performance and installation, and above all the permanent and the transitory—that has given rise to so many “Matta-Clarks” over the years since his tragically early death in 1978: the enraged James Dean of the art scene; the violent anti-architect and inventor of “anarchitecture”; cult hero of the Downtown ’70s; earnest follower of the Land artists (or, alternatively, strict formalist

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