Mary N. Woods: Gordon Matta-Clark in the Urban Wilderness of New York City

Visual Culture Colloquium presents "Gordon Matta-Clark in the Urban Wilderness of New York City"

Mary N. Woods, Professor, Department of Architecture, Cornell University 

Monday, March 12, History of Art Gallery Goldwin Smith Hall, 5 pm

(Reception to follow)

Violence, blackouts, bankruptcy, racial strife, and middle-class flight marked the years Gordon Matta-Clark lived and worked in New York City (1969-1978). Just as the American West was disappearing from Hollywood screens, it was reborn on the streets of a feral New York where urban loners, outlaws, and cowboys like Joe Buck (Midnight Cowboy) and Travis Bickel (Taxi Driver) roamed. This New York was both the medium and mise-en-scène for Matta-Clark’s distillation of a dangerous and ephemeral beauty from an urban wilderness of abandoned piers, burned-out buildings, and derelict neighborhoods.

Mary N. Woods is professor of urban and architectural history at Cornell. Her publications include "From Craft to Profession" (University of California Press, 1999) and the forthcoming "Beyond the Architect’s Eye: Other Photographs of American Tradition and Modernity" (University of Pennsylvania Press). The latter has won publishing subventions from the Graham Foundation and the Andrew Wyeth Foundation for American Art. Professor Woods has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, American Institute of Indian Studies, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Study Center. Her current projects include a study of women architects in India and Sri Lanka, the photography of Walker Evans and Tina Modotti in Havana and Mexico City respectively, and an exhibit on Georgia O’Keeffe’s New York City, to be curated with Nancy Green at the Johnson Museum of Art.

This talk, co-sponsored by The History of Architecture and Urbanism Society, will kick off the symposium titled "Gordon Matta-Clark at Cornell" on March 30th and 31st at Cornell University. The symposium program includes the film screening and discussion "MATTA AND MATTA-CLARK ON FILM: AN EVENING WITH JANE CRAWFORD, FILM MAKER" on Friday, March 30th, at 6 p.m., Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall (reception at 5:30 p.m.) and the discussion panel "MATTA-CLARK AT CORNELL: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE" on Saturday, March 31st, at 10 a.m., 2-L Auditorium, The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. The panelists includes Kent Hubbell, Dean of Students, Cornell, and Gwendolyn Owens, Curator, Matta-Clark Archive, Canadian Center for Architecture.

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