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Museum to Show Artist's Fingernail Scrapings
Gordon Matta-Clark, the conceptualist and Late Land artist famous for revealing buildings' inner structures by chainsawsing big cuts in them, is good but overfetishized. Because he died at age 35 there's just not that much work--many weak scraps have been shown. The estate is still being picked over, first for real work and now for unfinished projects that can be "completed" and ultimately commodified. As Sarah Hromack and others have reported, the latest exercise in enshrining the bone chip of a saint is the "completion" of Fake Estates, a work deep in the research hopper while Matta-Clark still lived.
Matta-Clark was acquiring slivers of land around NYC "sliced from the city grid through anomalies in surveying, zoning, and public-works expansion." According to the press release
he collected the maps, deeds, and other bureaucratic documentation attached to the slivers; photographed, spoke, and wrote about them; and considered using them as sites for his unique brand of “anarchitectural” intervention into urban space. Matta-Clark died in 1978 at the age of 35 without realizing his plans for Fake Estates, and ownership of the properties reverted to the city. The archival material that he had assembled went into storage and was not rediscovered until the early 1990s, when it was assembled into exhibitable collages. [smarmy emphasis added]Showing an artist's raw material is bad enough, but the team of curators has assembled a team of artists to...here's that word...respond to Matta-Clark's escheated gutters and planting strips. If you thought after the Terminal 5 debacle we were done with this kind of vague, warmed over site-specificity, well, no way; this trend is forever. "Toland Grinnell will coat his curb in Staten Island entirely in expensive leather..." (Yes, that's made up.) The only thing we can hope is that when Chris Burden dies no one finds any unused bullets in his personal effects.