Slicing Up the Museum

1970s Artists Exhibitions

Gordon Matta-Clark's project to slice through the museum "like an orange" took place in the bitter cold of a Chicago winter.

What Gordon did was literally slice through the building floor by floor, creating what he said was an orange, like the segments of an orange peeled. And whatever was in the way of that curve—for instance, the most famous I think was the cutting through a medicine chest where the glass is now shaped like this. The floors were cut through.

The day that he cut through to the ceiling, it was snowing. Oh, I must tell you that it was February and it was freezing cold. It was bitter, bitter cold. So the day he was going to use the chainsaw to cut through the ceiling, he did it and then the snow was—it was still sunlight and the snow was falling through into the building. It was just—it was breathtaking, really beautiful.

Gordon Matta-Clark, Cut and taped positives for Circus or The Caribbean Orange, 1978. Color gels, slide positives, and colored tape; 2 ½ x 5 ½ in. (6.4 x 13.9 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark in honor of the 30th anniversary of Circus or The Caribbean Orange, 2007.18. © 1978 Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Gordon Matta-Clark, Cut and taped positives for Circus or The Caribbean Orange, 1978. Color gels, slide positives, and colored tape; 2 ½ x 5 ½ in. (6.4 x 13.9 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark in honor of the 30th anniversary of Circus or The Caribbean Orange, 2007.18. © 1978 Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Related Stories

Video still, Behind the Scenes at an Art Museum. © MCA Chicago.

Behind the Scenes

MCA staff members are interviewed in 1997 about their work. Interviews include Torri Johnson, security officer; Margaret Farr, assistant director of education; Pablo Helguera, coordinator of public programs; Dominic Molon,. . . more
1990s Community Education Staff