Gordon Matta-Clark’s Last Big Project

1970s Artists Curatorial Exhibitions Ontario Street

Dorie Sternberg remembers Gordon Matta-Clark's MCA exhibition, the last project he undertook before his death from pancreatic cancer in 1978.

Gordon Matta-Clark came, and the curators wanted to have a show. And I remember, particularly because I was on, probably the exhibition committee at that time. They came—I wasn’t on the board, I don’t think by that time. They came and asked us permission. We didn’t have time to have a real board meeting. So the committee had to say right away: do we want him to do it. And we did. And you know, he died very shortly after that. That was probably the last major project he did.

It was a cold winter day and the building was being cut apart. So there were openings to the sky, and we walked around sort of dangerously. We got a chance to look around, and it was again, another phenomenal piece. Classic. And some of us were able—he did some photographs of the parts so that some people could have that remembrance, which I have someplace, or maybe one of my kids have. It was wonderful. And he was just charming. We had a really good time hopping around on the building. It was frightening. Unfortunately, it was probably his last project. Very young. Very talented.

Gordon Matta-Clark, Circus or The Caribbean Orange, 1978. Silver dye-bleach print; installed: 42 ¼ x 64 ½ in. (107.3 x 163.8 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman and Susan and Lewis Manilow, 1978.1.a–b. © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Gordon Matta-Clark, Circus or The Caribbean Orange, 1978. Silver dye-bleach print; installed: 42 ¼ x 64 ½ in. (107.3 x 163.8 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Bergman and Susan and Lewis Manilow, 1978.1.a–b. © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Installation view, Circus: The Caribbean Orange, MCA Chicago, Jan 28–Feb 13, 1978. Photo © MCA Chicago.

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