Gordon Matta-Clark used language as an essential creative tool, yet a sustained analysis of his writings is only now emerging. Trained as an architect, Matta-Clark is famous for making sculptural cuts into abandoned buildings — work typically seen as a highly physical application of Land Art principles to urban contexts. However, Matta-Clark’s visceral materiality was shaped by linguistic and poetic awareness. In addition to compulsively elaborated titles, his notebooks and letters teem with extended puns, aphoristic provocations, and abstract verbal sketches. In these gnomic but elegant notations, problems in architecture, sculpture, performance, and social interaction are crystallized. Richard’s article will explore fundamental relationships linking his quirky, brilliant language-sense and mischievous spatial deconstructions.
Frances Richard’s publications include Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates with Jeffrey Kastner and Sina Najafi (Cabinet Books, 2005), and three volumes of poems: Anarch (Futurepoem, 2012), The Phonemes (Les Figues Press, 2012), and See Through (Four Way Books, 2003). She has contributed essays and reviews to Artforum, BOMB, the Brooklyn Rail, Cabinet, Encyclopedia, Fence, the London Review of Books, the New Yorker, and Parkett, and exhibition catalogue essays for the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Creative Time, Independent Curators International, SculptureCenter, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Pierogi Gallery, and the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, among others. She has been a fellow at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France, the Djerassi Resident Artist Foundation in Woodside, CA, the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH, and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY. Richard is an associate professor of English at Barnard College and a visiting lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design.