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					Inspiration From Real Estate Rejects - New York Times                             

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          ART REVIEW | 'ODD LOTS'                                                                                  Advertisement

          Inspiration From Real Estate
          By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN                                         E-Mail This
          Published: September 9, 2005                                 Printer-Friendly

          In the early 1970's, the artist Gordon
          Matta-Clark discovered that periodically
          New York City, rooting around for petty tax revenue,
          auctioned off "gutterspace" - tiny, irregular, inaccessible or
          otherwise unusable parcels of land, the remnants of surveying
          errors or other zoning anomalies.

                                Enlarge This Image   They often consisted of only a
                                                     strip of curb or the edge of an
                                                     alleyway or some tiny,
                                                     locked-in plot at the
                                                     intersection of several
                                                     backyards. The lots went for
                                                     as little as $25, for which the
                                                     city hoped to collect maybe
               Courtesy of The Estate of Gordon      $7 or $8 a year in taxes -
             Matta-Clark and David Zwirner, New
                                           York      generally less, as auditors
          Gordon Matta-Clark in Jaime                would find out later, than it
          Davidovich's video at the Queens
                                                     cost New York to administer
          Museum, and Mark Dion's sketch of
          an imagined subterranean museum            the lots.
          at White Columns.
                                                     Matta-Clark bought 15
                                                     parcels, 14 in Queens and 1 in
                                                     Staten Island. When he died
          Forum: Artists and Exhibitions
                                                     of cancer at 35, in 1978, he
                                                     left behind the deeds and their
                                Enlarge This Image   unpaid tax bills. Apparently,
                                                     he had vaguely thought about
                                                     installing art on the plots or
                                                     giving plots to artists to
                                                     install their art, although the
                                                     properties were really too
                                                     impractical to use. Years after

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Inspiration From Real Estate Rejects - New York Times                    

                                               he died, his widow, Jane
                                               Crawford, coming upon the
                                               documents in a box, devised
                                               collages that consisted of the
                                               deeds, photographs and maps -
                                               surrogate versions of the
                                               property, not unlike the
                                               "nonsites" by his mentor and
                                               fellow entropist Robert
          Mitchell Algus Gallery/Queens Museum
                                                     also appeared in a
                                          of ArtMatta-Clark
          A collage of deeds, maps and other
                                        video, shot by Jaime
          documents from Gordon
                                        Davidovich, in which he
          Matta-Clark's "Fake Estates"
          project.                      wandered around Queens
                                        hunting for his properties, a
                                        kind of hipster Harold Lloyd
          aspiring to be a lord of the manor, knocking on doors,
          encountering touchy neighbors and dutifully chalking off tiny
          strips of driveway or peering through chain-link fences at
          some nondescript little patch of weeds, which he had
          determined belonged to him.

          His Dadaist assortment of micro-parcels came to be called,
          collectively, "Reality Properties: Fake Estates," and the work
          gained mystique over time as a partly tongue-in-cheek but
          critical project in Matta-Clark's brief and influential career. A
          few years ago the editors of Cabinet, the savvy and inquisitive
          art quarterly, located and licensed some of the parcels, which
          after Matta-Clark's death had reverted to the city and to
          administrative limbo. The magazine commissioned several
          artists to imagine works of their own based on "Fake Estates"
          for an issue about property.

          Now Cabinet's editors (Frances Richard, Jeffrey Kastner and
          Sina Najafi) have chosen 19 artists for a full-fledged show at
          the West Village gallery White Columns, with a few artists
          doing bus tours to the sites. At the Queens Museum of Art,
          starting Sunday, there is documentation of Matta-Clark's
          original work, with stakes on the museum's panorama
          marking the locations of the plots.

          Clearly, Matta-Clark's time has come. A full-dress
          retrospective is slated for the Whitney in 2007. His influence
          is already abroad in works by Rachel Whiteread, Gregor                Past 24 Hours | Past 7 Days
          Schneider, Toba Khedoori and a slew of others, fashionable or
                                                                                1. Paul Krugman: All the President's Friends
          otherwise, who more or less grasp his subtle and often                2. An Anchor Who Reports Disaster News With a Heart on His
          intangible aura. The interest in Matta-Clark belongs to a more           Sleeve
          general revival of the scrappy, anarchic decade of the 70's,

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Inspiration From Real Estate Rejects - New York Times                            

          further proof being the present Smithson traveling show (at
                                                                                        3. March of the Conservatives: Penguin Film as Political Fodder
          the Whitney through Oct. 23).                                                 4. Your Money: Some Ways to Prepare for the Absolute Worst
                                                                                        5. Maureen Dowd: Neigh to Cronies
          Some of this nostalgia is merely academic: Smithson, in
          particular, is a darling of modish historians. But the romance                   Go to Complete List

          may also partly signal a healthy reaction by young artists
          against our timorous and competitive climate, which now
          prizes crafty little artworks to please a youth-besotted market.
          Matta-Clark represents an entirely different sort of youthful

          Bohemian born, he was the son of Roberto Matta, the Chilean
          Surrealist. Co-founder of a cooperative exhibition and
          performance space on the ground floor of 112 Greene Street
          (which became White Columns) and a founder of the erstwhile
          restaurant Food, which was also a communal, artist-run be-in,
          in what was then still the frontier neighborhood of SoHo,
          Matta-Clark now conjures up a messier, more mischievous                        Want to be one of the first readers to experience TimesSelect?

          era. There was considerably less money around but, perhaps as                  Also with TimesSelect:
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          "Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark's 'Fake Estates' "
          is on view through Oct. 15 at White Columns, 320 West 13th                    ADVERTISEMENTS

          Street, (212) 924-4212; the accompanying exhibition at the                    Life Engine Trade Online: Scottrade.
          Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park,                           Need a marketing engine?

          (718) 592-9700, opens Sunday and continues through Jan.
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Inspiration From Real Estate Rejects - New York Times            

          Art Matta-Clark, Gordon     Queens Museum of Art New York City


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