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What would Matta-Clark do?


I just finished being interviewed by the San Diego curator about Gordon. Since this summer I’ve been called upon by Jane Crawford and Bob Fiore to speak about Gordon, now the San Diego curator and coming up the Whitney curator. It’s emotionally very taxing because it asks me to go back 30 years and bring up memories I’ve put away. On reflecting a bit about the question; “What would Matta-Clark do?”, I find it a helpful exercise.

As I said in my earlier post, perhaps if alive today he would cut apart the Whitney for his retrospective but upon reflection he would be more prone to setting up a temporary space in the soon to be renovated brownstones and perhaps invite all his friends to do pieces to go along with the retrospective. If the rebuilding of New Orleans was occurring he might have organized a “save New Orleans soul” exhibition, workshop that would include music concerts and food events in the vacant brownstones next to the Whitney. Perhaps he would have a Voudon priest do a religious ceremony to chase away Bush/Cheney/Halliburton from New Orleans. He might have proposed a community flotilla to set up a barricade protecting New Orleans from the rape of governmental loobyists and subcontractors.

One work that Gordon proposed when the Berlin wall was still standing was to sneak up to it on the America side, the no man’s land, and do a graffiti work. It’s not far fetched that he would propose a New Orleans/New York connection for his Whitney retrospective and invite his friends and people from the community to “energize” the space. Gordon didn’t particularly care about the whole museum/gallery system. He saw it as existing but in dire need of expanding it’s criteria of curatorial practices and modes of patronage. He never operated from a negative or nihilistic stance but always proposed an opening up of any system. Indeed, a museum show would be a challenge to see how far he could breech the exclusivity of the museum practice.