Matta-Clark cut these fragments from the facade of a house in Niagara Falls, New York, that was about to be demolished by the local housing commission. Working with a small team over the course of ten days, he cut the facade into nine equivalent rectangles then removed each one until only the central rectangle remained, like the central section of a Bingo card. Minutes after they finished the extraction, the house was razed. The artist retained three sections and deposited the remaining five in a nearby sculpture park, where he hoped they would be “gradually reclaimed by the Niagara River Gorge.”
Matta-Clark was raised in New York City, and he had witnessed firsthand the constant demolition of older buildings for the construction of new ones, the result of shifting real estate values. “Work with abandoned structures,” he wrote around 1974, “began with my concern for the life of the city, of which a major side effect is the metabolization of old buildings.” The presence of empty and neglected buildings in urban centers is “a reminder of the ongoing fallacy of renewal through modernization.”
Group show with Alex Hardy, Rebecca Harris, Paul R Jones, Mark McGowan (aka The Artist Taxi Driver), James William Murray, Alex Pearl, Kate Pickering, Abbi Torrance, Tumim & Prendergast and Hanae Utamura.
Responding to the exhibition brief of ‘art, as a shifter of perceptions,… a terrain which can change how we think about ourselves and the world’ Rich settled on the form of a watchtower - drawing on ideas of protection and defense, as well as places of physical and mental control such as prisons and concentration camps.
Rich was provided with a large amount of timbers and boards which he could use under one condition: he could not cut them.
Commissioned by g39 for Barnraising & Bunkers. 4 May - 29 June 2013
‘Despite the desires of architects and planners, the growth of the built environment happens organically at the will of its inhabitants. This environment is a process, not a fixed state. The exhibition Barnraising and Bunkers looks at our impulse for shelter, and how we choose to build. If Barnraising epitomises collective action and co-operation, Bunkers suggest the opposite, a singular act. It features work by artists who engage with architectural or physical structures, through their construction and our navigation within them, around them and through them.’