The Queens Museum comes to life with Gordon Matta-Clark

by Art Fag City on September 6, 2005 Events

The Queens Museum is in an interesting place these days as it is attempting to forge itself a reputation. It’s been over looked for years, I suspect in large part due to the fact that you have to take the subway all the way to Canada before you finally get to the end of the 7 line. And then you have to walk for fucking ever to get to the building including through a giant mass of tennis courts (which probably comes close to enducing anaphylactic shock to many art enthusiasts). Past the fact that the Queens Museum is about as far out in Queens as you can get, their permanent collection leaves something to be desired. Think about what you would expect a very average small to mid sized museum to have in it’s permanent collection…that’s exactly what the collection of the Queens Museum looks like. It’s a lot of second rate art from big name artists and third rate art from lesser known artists you care even less about.

But, over the past year there has been increased talk about the Queens Museum being the most underrated institution in the city. Having been out there twice it may be premature for AFC to form an opinion on this, but as long as Hannity and Colmes are out there, this will be considered a deeply researched piece. Certainly the show Queens International 2004, (the museums answer to PS1’s Greater New York Show, and the Brooklyn Museum’s Open House: Working in Brooklyn) was a step in the right direction. Moving forward in the direction of good, September 11 through January 22 2005, the Museum will display Gordon Matta-Clark's Fake Estates, in connection with White Columns.

Gordon Matta-Clark, an artist whose academic background was in architecture is best known for his work which radically altered pre-existing spaces.

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Gordon Matta-Clark, The Space Between, 1974. Photo Credit:

The work that will be shown at the Queens museum is not so much of a departure from the work he is famous for, but a continuation of his interest in social structures and systems of organization, dematerialization, and functionality.

The Fake Estate project began in the 70’s when Gordon Matta-Clark began buying up “gutterspace” from the city. These were spaces that had been zoned strangely for one reason or another and became unusable because of their small size. Although the artist had plans for the space, his untimely death, prevented the work from being brought to fruition and the properties reverted to the city. So basically nothing remains to make the show except the deeds, maps and documents pertaining to the property, which would be considered dull were it not for the fact that they are huge fucking reminders of the contradiction his death and the life of his project. Certainly that’s enough to make anyone trek out to Queens.

PS White Columns has commissioned nineteen artists to make speculative projects responding to the “gutterspace” to add a contemporary element to the show. It sounds like a real stinker…I’ll keep you updated on that. Opens September 9th.

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