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Food

Monday, October 26, 1998–Thursday, December 03, 1998

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Artists: Tina Girouard, Caroline Goodden, Suzanne Harris, Rachel Lew, and Gordon Matta-Clark.

…Pollock, as I see him, left us at the point where we must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life, either our bodies, clothes, room, or, if need be, the vastness of Forty Second Street. Not satisfied with the suggestion through paint of our other senses, we shall utilize the specific substances of sight, sound, movements, people, orders, touch. Objects of every sort are materials for the new art: paint, chairs, food, electric and neon lights, smoke, water, old socks, a dog, movies, a thousand other things which will be discovered by the present generation of artists. Not only will these bold creators show us, as if for the first time, the world we have always had about us, but ignored, but they will disclose entirely unheard of happenings and events, found in garbage cans, police files, hotel lobbies, seen in store windows and on the streets, and sensed in dreams and horrible accidents. An odor of crushed strawberries, a letter from a friend or a billboard selling Drano; three taps on the front door, a scratch, a sigh or a voice lecturing endlessly, a blinding staccato flash, a bowler hat – all will become materials for this new concrete art.
The young artist of today need no longer say “I am a painter” or “a poet” or “a dancer,” He is simply an “artist.” All of life will be open to him. He will discover out of ordinary things the meaning of ordinariness. He will try not to make them extraordinary. Only their real meaning will be stated. But out of nothing he will devise the extraordinary and then maybe nothingness as well. People will be delighted or horrified, critics will be confused or amused, but these, I am sure, will be the alchemies of the 1960s.

-Allan Kaprow, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollack,” 1958
… We were thinking about metaphoric void, gaps, left over space, places that were not developed…For example, the places where you stop to tie your shoelaces, places that are just interruptions in your daily movements. These places are also perceptually significant because they make a reference to movement space.

-Gordon Matta-Clark in a discussion, The Anarchitecture Show at 112 Greene Street, NY. March 9-20, 1974

Food was a documentary exhibition that aimed to convey a sense of the time, place, and work made by a group of artists who helped create the vital arts community later known as SoHo. Gordon Matta-Clark, Caroline Goodden, Tina Girouard, Suzanne Harris and Rachel Lew were five members of a community of like-minded people, who lived and worked in the loft spaces of lower Manhattan in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In order to support themselves, show their work, and document their activities, these artists – dancers, poets, musicians, performers, film-makers, photographers, sculptors, and painters – established a self-sustaining network which included Food restaurant, Avalanche magazine, and the performance and exhibition space 112 Greene Street/112 Workshop. This space, the longest-lived of the three endeavors, would be renamed White Columns in 1980; it still exists today in New York and serves as an important venue for exhibiting the work of emerging artists. The combined energy of these enterprises supported, documented, and exhibited a group of artists whose performative, and often deliberately impermanent work, developed in the shadow of Minimalism and Pop.

Food restaurant opened at 127 Prince Street, on the comer of Wooster and Prince Streets, in the fall of 1971 with a meal consisting of garlic soup and bread. With an initial investment by Caroline Goodden and the labor of many others, the project was, on a pragmatic level, very simple: it was a business, it was a restaurant. At the same time, however, Food was a conceptual idea formed by the ongoing creative interests of its founders. As Goodden recounted, “I did it to create a means to a make a living for my artist friends, and it did do that for three years; I did it to have a meeting place for the wonderful collection of exciting minds which had gravitated to SoHo; I did it to make a place to have creative and imaginative food, a place to eat, convene, play – a great big kitchen/living room, and I think Gordon, Tina, and I were successful in doing just that.” As a community-based business, a performance site, a meeting ground, an exhibition space, and a project that helped define the early character of those blocks below Houston Street, yet to be named Soho, Food exemplified an approach to art making practice that was unique to the spirit of the time.

In an interview Matta-Clark described the beginnings of the project: “One of the earliest times I can remember using cuttings as a way of redefining space was at Food restaurant, set up in the early days of Soho—long before the influx of boutiques and bars which now congest the area. We would put on shows and create food theater…This was perhaps the last time I ever used cutting, the cutting process, in a pragmatic way.” The cut architectural elements extracted from Food were exhibited in October 1972 at 112 Greene Street.

A list of people working in the community included not only visual artists, but also dancers, musicians, and performers. As Goodden related in an interview: “I designed menus, the recipes. Richard Peck made music while washing dishes. Barbara Dilley designed scrumptious salads during the day and danced at night. Rachel, Tina, Joanne Akalaitis, Joel Shapiro, Ned Smythe, Bob Kushner and I cooked… Mark de Suvero wanted to serve his meals through the window with a crane (that never happened)…”

The exhibition included never before seen video transfers of films made by Gordon Matta-Clark with Robert Frank, Suzanne Harris, and others, as well as a variety of printed matter and photographic documentation, including brochures, promotional flyers, issues of Avalanche magazine, taped conversations between artists, and photographic documentation of installations.

This exhibition was organized by White Columns.

PRESS RELEASE

Curated by Catherine Morris
Food

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
October 26–December 3, 1998

Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 28, 1999, 4–7 pm
Curator Lecture: Wednesday, October 28, 1999, 5 pm

“…. We were thinking about metaphoric voids, gaps, leftover spaces, places that were not developed… For example, the places where you stop to tie your shoelaces, places that are just interruptions in your daily movements. These places are also perceptually significant because they make a reference to movement space.”
– Gordon Matta-Clark in a discussion at The Anarchitecture Show at 112 Greene Street, NY, March 9–20, 1974.

In June 1971, Caroline Gooden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Tina Girouard. Suzanne Harris, and Rachel Lew started the project that was to become Food restaurant. Early that fall, Food opened its doors at the north-west corner of Wooster and Prince Streets with a meal consisting of garlic soup and bread. As a community based business, a performance site, a meeting ground, an exhibition space, and a project that helped define the early character of those blocks below Houston Street, yet to be named Soho, Food exemplifies an approach to an making practice that is unique to the spirit of the time.

In an interview Matta-Clark described the beginnings of the project: “One of the earliest times I can remember using cuttings as a way of redefining space was at Food restaurant, set up in the early days of Soho—long before the influx of boutiques and bars which now congest the area. We would put on shows and create food theater… This was perhaps the last time I ever used cutting, the cutting process, in a pragmatic way.” The cut architectural elements extracted from Food were exhibited in October 1972 at 112 Greene Street, the important alternative space co–founded by Matta-Clark and Jeffrey Lew that, in 1980, became White Columns.

Food, in conjunction with 112 Greene Street and the magazine Avalanche, supported, documented, and exhibited a generation of artists whose performative, and often deliberately impermanent work was developing in the shadow or Minimalism, Pop, and the demise of formalism. A list of people working in the community included not only visual artists, but dancers, musicians, and performers. As Caroline Gooden related in an interview: “I designed menus, the recipes. Richard Peck made music while washing dishes. Barbara Dilley designed scrumptious salads during the day and danced at night. Rachel, Tina, Joanne Akalaitis, Joel Shapiro, Ned Smythe, Bob Kushner and I cooked… Mark de Suvero wanted to serve his meals through the window with a crane (that never happened) …”

The exhibition will include never before seen video transfers of films made by Gordon Matta-Clark with Robert Frank, Suzanne Harris, and others, as well as a variety of printed matter and photographic documentation, including original ads from Avalanche magazine.

This exhibition was organized by White Columns.

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

Catherine Morris, exhibition curator; Karen Indeck, Diector of Gallery 400; and Paul Ha, Director of White Columns would like to thank the following people for their assistance in making this exhibition possible:

Jane Crawford and Bob Fiore; Caroline Goodden; Tina Girouard; Rober Kushner; C. Andrew Sarchiapone; Rhona Hoffman/Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Gilbert and Lila Silverman; Jon and Joanne Hendricks; Liza Bear; Steven Vitello and Laurie Zippay/Electronic Arts Intermix, New York; Lance Fung/Lance Fung Gallery, New York; Frank Gillette; Dara Meyers Kingsley/Vidipak, New York; Craig Smyth/Cody Color, New York; Glen Walls; Eva Lundsager; Tom MacGregor; Lauren Ross; Willoughby Sharp; Sam Stevens; and David Zwirner Gallery, New York.

Source material for much of the information and quotes included in the wall texts that accompany this exhibition were originally published in the following publications:

Bretano, Robyn with Savitt, Mark, editors. 112 Workshop/112 Greene Street. New York, New York University Press, 1981.
Diserens, Corinne. Gordon Matta-Clark. Valencia, Spain: IVAM Centro Julio Gonzalez, 1992.
Jacob, Mary Jane. Gordon Matta-Clark: A Retrospective. Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1985.

PRINT COLLATERAL

Postcard: Food

EXHIBITION CATALOGUE

Food Catalogue Cover

FOOD: An Exhibition by White Columns

Catherine Morris
Walter König, 1999
52 pp., 8 1/4 x 11 11/16 in., black and white

This catalogue can be purchased for $XX.00 plus shipping by calling Gallery 400 at 312-996-6114.

PDF

CURATOR BIOGRAPHY

Morris Head Shot Catherine Morris currently serves as curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. In this position, Morris has organized Matthew Buckingham: The Spirit and the Letter, Lorna Simpson: Gathered, Kiki Smith: Sojourn, Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864, and Sam Taylor-Wood: “Ghosts,” and she was the Brooklyn Museum curator for Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968. As an independent curator prior to joining the Museum, Morris organized exhibitions that explored issues related to feminism and its impact as a social, political, and intellectual construct on the development of visual culture—among them Decoys, Complexes, and Triggers: Women and Land Art in the 1970s at the Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York; she also co-curated Gloria and Regarding Gloria at White Columns, New York. She was the co-curator of Hans Hofmann: Circa 1950 at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, and curated 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966, which originated at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, and Food at White Columns, New York. Morris was an independent curator for more than twelve years prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum, and was Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has authored or contributed to numerous scholarly publications and catalogues.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

112 Workshop/112 Greene Street

Photographic documentation

Anarchitecture Announcement, 1974
Announcement from archives of Avalanche Magazine, 4 x 4 1/2 in.

Avalanche Magazine, 1971-1973
Issues no. 2-8

Food Family Fiscal Facts, Spring 1972
Mechanical, published in Avalanche, 14 1/2 x 12 in.

Carmen Beuchat, Suzanne Harris, Cynthia Hedstrom, Rachel Lew, and Mary Overlie

The Natural History of the American Dancer, May 2-6, 1975
Announcement poster, 8 1/2 x 11 in.

Carmen Beuchat with Trisha Brown, Kitty Duane, Caroline Goodden, Suzanne Harris, Alex Hay, Rachel Lew, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Nonas, Judith Padow, Penelope and Kei Takei

Ice, December 8, 1972
Photographic documentation of performance

Carol Goodden

Photographs at Food, 1971/1998
C-prints from original slides, 11 x 14 in. each

Photographs of Food Under Construction, 1971
Four black and white photographs, 7 x 5 in. each

Suzanne Harris at Work, 1971
Black and White photograph

Suzanne Harris
Mem, October 19-31, 1974

The Wheels, March 17-29, 1973
Sculptures activated by performance (photographic documentation)

Suzanne Harris, Mary Heilman, and Harriet Korman

Exhibition Announcement, October 4-23, 1975
16 1/2 x 10 3/4 in.

Suzanne Harris and Rachel Lew

Rubber Thoughts on the Way to Florida in January and Swing, May 30, 1971
Photographic documentation of performance

Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner and Friends Eat Their Clothes, 1973
Black and white video tape

Wear What You Eat, July 30, 1973
Color video tape

Richard Landry

Floor Section Cutting, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Floor Section Cutting with Photographs of Hole on Site, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Gordon Matta-Clark Exhibition at 112 Greene Street, October 21-November 10, 1972
Installation photograph

Index card to Liza Bear

From the Archives of Avalanche Magazine

Tina Girouard, Caroline Goodden, and Gordon Matta-Clark in Front of Food, 1971
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Wall and Door Section Cuttings with Walls Paper Behind, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Wall Section Cutting from Food with Photographs of Hole on Site, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Gordon Matta-Clark

155 Wooster Street, New York, May 24, 1974
Taped discussion with Liza Bear, from Avalanche archives

Exhibition Announcement, 1972

Food, Prince Street at Wooster Street, NY, 1973
Wall fragment (nails, metal, wood, graphite), 18 x 15 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.

Food, 1972
Black and white photograph diptych, 36 1/2 x 21 3/4 in.

Food, Reel B

16mm black and white film transferred to video, 32 min.

Food Under Construction, 1971
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Glaza, c. 1971
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Gordon Matta-Clark Exhibition, October 21-November 10, 1972
Photographic documentation

Incendiary Wafers, 1970-71
Black and white photograph, 10 x 6 1/2 in.

Photo-Fry, 1969
Brochure with two black and white photographs mounted on paper with ink, 13 1/2 x 9 1/3 in.

Splitting,
May 21, 1974
Taped conversation

Walls Paper

Offset on newspaper, 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.

Walls Paper, 1973
Offset on newspaper, 10 1/4 x 8 in.

Gordon Matta Clark with Barbara Dilley, Tina Girouard, Ted Greenwald, Richard Landry, Suzanne Harris, and Robert Prado

Dumpster, or Drag-On, or Open House

Gordon Matta-Clark with sound by Robert Frank

Food, Reel A, c. 1971
16mm black and white film transferred to video, 26 min.

Gordon Matta-Clark with sound by Suzanne Harris

Food, Reel C

16mm black and white film transferred to video, 17 min.

Photographer Unknown

Food, c. 1971
Black and white photograph, 10 1/2 x 8 in.

Installation photograph of work by Suzanne Harris

Cosmos Savage/Cosmos Sarchiapone

First Installation at 112 Greene Street, 1970
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Food, c. 1971-73/1998
Various documentary photographs, 8 x 10 in. each

Gordon Matta-Clark Installing, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Holly Solomon and Gordon Matta-Clark inside Dumpster

Photographic documentation of event

Two views of Dumpster

Photographic documentation of event

Video Performance Series Audience, 1974
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST (EXPANDED)

112 Workshop/112 Greene Street

Photographic documentation

In 1970 a rag-salvaging business vacated the basement and ground floor spaces at 112 Greene Street. The artist Jeffrey Lew, who owned the building, began to show new artists’ work. This exhibition space, after going through various manifestations, eventually became White Columns. Lew, Matta-Clark, Harris, Girouard, Goodden, and numerous other artists, dancers, musicians, and performers used the huge raw space to make and show their work in an environment that allowed a freedom unheard of within the strictures of commercial gallery spaces. A cooperative atmosphere pervaded both 112 and Food — their ties were as simple as geographic proximity, and as complicated as the personal relationships that bound the two spaces.
The documentation of 112 events presented here are examples of some projects in which the founders of Food participated simultaneous to their work around the corner at 127 Prince Street. Unless otherwise noted, all of the work displayed is from the White Columns Archives. Notes on the exhibitions are paraphrased from the book 112 Workshop/112 Greene Street, edited by Robin Brentano with Mark Savitt (New York University Press, New York, 1981).

The Anarchitecture Show, March 9-20, 1974

“The ‘Anarchitecture’ group was about ten people — Laurie Anderson, Carol Goodden, Suzanne Harris, Jene Highstein, Bernie Kirschenbaum, Dicky Landry, Richard Nonas, Gordon, myself and others from time to time. We would sit around tables at restaurants and bars throwing out ideas… Come to think of it, Food restaurant [1971] was a result, with four or five owners being Anarchitecture members…”
“Anarchitecture came after Food as a think tank. We were not trying to make a statement of collaborative art works… it was about psychological scale.”
-Tina Girouard

“The group’s architectural aim was more elusive than doing pieces that would demonstrate an alternative attitude to buildings… It was about something other than the established architectural vocabulary, without getting too fixed into anything too formal.”
-Gordon Matta-Clark, in an interview with Liza Bear for Avalanche Magazine

In March 1974 the Anarchitecture Show went up at 112 Greene Street. Participating artists were Laurie Anderson, Tina Girouard, Suzanne Harris, Jene Highstein, Bernard Kirschenbaum, Richard Landry, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Richard Nonas. It was originally conceived as a show of documentation in which each participating artist was to anonymously hang photographs in a uniform size of 16 x 20 inches. Richard Nonas and Laurie Anderson chose to exhibit drawings instead of photographs, and Jene Highstein made a photo-collage. As Jene Highstein recalled in the book 112 Workshop/112 Greene Street, “It was not an exhibition of objects but a visual reportage of our meetings.”

Anarchitecture Announcement, 1974
Announcement from archives of Avalanche Magazine, 4 x 4 1/2 in.

Avalanche Magazine, 1971-1973
Issues no. 2-8

“With Food and 112 and Avalanche, we had our own places to meet, our own magazine. We shared art ideas, the older group fought art ideas — they talked more art, we did more art.”
— Tina Girouard

Founded in 1968 by Liza Bear and Willoughby Sharp, Avalanche magazine documented the exhibitions, performances, publications, and personal lives of the artists living and working around 112 and Food. As a primary source of information for artists, including numerous interviews and rare photographs, the magazine and its archive are invaluable records of the events and happenings of the period.
Food restaurant advertised regularly in Avalanche. Photography and the design of the ads were all ad hoc activities, although Matta-Clark seems to have had a strong hand in all of them. “Food Family Fiscal Facts” was the creation of Girouard, Goodden, Matta-Clark, and Liza Bear. The activities of the founders of Food and the goings-on at the restaurant were recorded throughout the magazine, often with small notes appearing in the “Rumbles” section of the publication. Taped and printed interviews with Matta-Clark and Girouard are included with the many others conducted by Sharp and Bear.
All of the materials included in this room are part of the archives of Avalanche magazine, courtesy of Gilbert and Lila Silverman, Detroit.

Food Family Fiscal Facts, Spring 1972
Mechanical, published in Avalanche, 14 1/2 x 12 in.

Carmen Beuchat, Suzanne Harris, Cynthia Hedstrom, Rachel Lew, and Mary Overlie

The Natural History of the American Dancer, May 2-6, 1975
Announcement poster, 8 1/2 x 11 in.

Carmen Beuchat with Trisha Brown, Kitty Duane, Caroline Goodden, Suzanne Harris, Alex Hay, Rachel Lew, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Nonas, Judith Padow, Penelope and Kei Takei

Ice, December 8, 1972
Photographic documentation of performance

The piece was performed in and around a hole cut by George Trakas between the ground floor and the basement. Brown bounced on a trapeze, suspended in the trap between the floors. Matta-Clark, Hay, Goodden, and Penelope bounced on flat carts loaded with dry ice below the trap. Kei Takei was lifted through the hole by a rope. Harris, Padow, and Lew performed as Kei Takei was raised.

Carol Goodden
Photographs at Food, 1971/1998
C-prints from original slides, 11 x 14 in. each

“I wanted to show off my/our cooking to ‘the world.’ I wanted to have a place to eat with food that I liked that was open when I needed it to be, and I wanted to create a work place for artists that had no restrictions on how many hours a day or days a week the artist worked so that they could be free to suddenly drop out as needed to produce their show and still have a job when they were through. It was successful on all counts. Food supported 300 people during our time.”
— Caroline Goodden

Photographs of Food Under Construction, 1971
Four black and white photographs, 7 x 5 in. each

Suzanne Harris at Work, 1971
Black and White photograph

Suzanne Harris

Mem, October 19-31, 1974

The Wheels, March 17-29, 1973
Sculptures activated by performance (photographic documentation)

Suzanne Harris, Mary Heilman, and Harriet Korman

Exhibition Announcement, October 4-23, 1975
16 1/2 x 10 3/4 in.

Suzanne Harris and Rachel Lew
Rubber Thoughts on the Way to Florida in January and Swing, May 30, 1971
Photographic documentation of performance

Suzanne Harris stretched huge rubber strips between the columns; as Caroline Goodden recalled, she and Rachel Lew “did this great bouncing dance against the rubber bands.” Harris also built sculpture which enabled the performers to move in mid-air. Swing, choreographed by Rachel Lew, also made use of this set.

Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner and Friends Eat Their Clothes, 1973
Black and white video tape

Wear What You Eat, July 30, 1973
Color video tape

Robert Kushner worked at Food from the Fall of 1972 until the spring of 1974, in a capacity Caroline Goodden characterized as “my right hand man in management.” Kushner’s work with the sculptural and wearable possibilities of food began when he lived and worked in California, and continued after his arrival in New York in 1972. Kushner supported himself working at Food and, as his fashion show with friends wearing his creations attest, he took advantage of the raw materials the job offered. The food used in both of the performances documented here was acquired through Food Restaurant.

Richard Landry

Floor Section Cutting, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Floor Section Cutting with Photographs of Hole on Site, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Gordon Matta-Clark Exhibition at 112 Greene Street, October 21-November 10, 1972
Installation photograph

“The notion of mutable space is taboo — especially in one’s own house.”
— Gordon Matta-Clark

The large-scale diptych photograph made by Matta-Clark documents the original source for the illustrated cutting. The cut piece is now lost.

Index card to Liza Bear

From the Archives of Avalanche Magazine

Tina Girouard, Caroline Goodden, and Gordon Matta-Clark in Front of Food, 1971
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Various adapted versions of this photograph exist. Used as an ad in Avalanche in a different form, this image shows the restaurant space that existed at the corner of Wooster and Prince before it became Food.

“For a long time, one or another artist, frequently Gordon, cooked up a storm and served it for dinner. There was no choice of what to eat. Some of the food was extremely creative. Although it was not exactly the same thing as 112, most of the same people cooked and at there and in a sense it was a spin off of the space around the corner. Of course it has been thought that Food would make money but on the contrary it only lost it.”
– Caroline Goodden

Richard Nonas: “He wanted it [Food Restaurant] to be a sculpture and a restaurant as well (though he did not succeed in that). Not restaurant as sculpture, but two separate things at the same time.”

Alanna Heiss: “Food was the site of a lot of apocryphal stories. He [Matta-Clark] once told me of a sculptor’s dinner — for sculptors by sculptors. All the utensils were to be screwdrivers, hammers, chisels. I don’t know if it really happened.”

— Food restaurant, you see, another anarchist trip. Five people, each one of us “owned” the restaurant one day of the week came in and so the day that I worked I hired all the musicians that were playing with Dickie and we cooked Louisiana food and it was a Louisiana place; MaboMines survived because of Food

“The notion of mutable space is taboo — especially in one’s own house.”
– Gordon Matta-Clark

Tina Girouard: “We spread money to the whole art world. I worked at Food two and a half to three days a week. One day a week each person was boss. There was lots of Cajun and Creole cuisine, mostly from Louisiana. A lot of the food came from Phil Glass’ group, the vegetarian group; the dancers, Rachel Lew and Suzy Harris. The space was designed so that the audience — the customers — could watch everything. Food became the vehicle for people to be introduced to the art world.”

Wall and Door Section Cuttings with Walls Paper Behind, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Wall Section Cutting from Food with Photographs of Hole on Site, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Gordon Matta-Clark

155 Wooster Street, New York, May 24, 1974
Taped discussion with Liza Bear, from Avalanche archives

Exhibition Announcement, 1972

Food, Prince Street at Wooster Street, NY, 1973
Wall fragment (nails, metal, wood, graphite), 18 x 15 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.

“One of the earliest times I can remember using cuttings as a way of redefining space was at Food restaurant, set up in the early days of Soho — long before the influx of boutiques and bars which now congest the area. We would put on shows and create food theater. The first design of the place was not as practical as we needed once the restaurant became a business. Consequently, I spent the second summer redesigning the space. I did this by cutting up what we had already built in work spaces. It then progressed to the walls and other space dividers. This was perhaps the last time I ever used cutting, the cutting process, in a pragmatic way.”
— Gordon Matta-Clark, 1977

Food, 1972
Black and white photograph diptych, 36 1/2 x 21 3/4 in.

“The activity takes the form of a theatrical gesture that cleaves structural space.”
— Gordon Matta-Clark

Food, Reel B
16mm black and white film transferred to video, 32 min.

Food Under Construction, 1971
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Glaza, c. 1971
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Gordon Matta-Clark Exhibition, October 21-November 10, 1972

Photographic documentation

Cuttings (those pictured are now lost) from Food were exhibited along with Walls Paper and Bronx Floors. Matta-Clark also hung scroll-like sheets with softly colored silkscreened images of exposed walls from wrecked buildings. Printed on a newspaper offset press with the assistance of Joan Simon, as shown here, two different versions of an artist’s book were also made. Like had done with Photo-Fry, Matta-Clark sent the smaller of the two to friends as Christmas greetings. A cutting from Food, which was related to the exposed architectural depiction, was also included. As Caroline Goodden recalled, “This was the beginning of his cutting houses; cutting whole houses came right after this cutting of sections of floors… He never was as interested in the pieces as he was in the hole. The light and the lines interested him much more than the piece, which was simply documentation. He was taking something that was dead-looking and making it alive again.”

Incendiary Wafers, 1970-71
Black and white photograph, 10 x 6 1/2 in.

Selection, preparation, and cooking as alchemical processes are recurring themes in Matta-Clark’s work. From 1969-1971, before the concept of splittings came to dominate his work, Matta-Clark employed these culinary techniques and food-related ideas in several major works. The earliest example is Photo-Fry, a performance Matta-Clark undertook for a 1969 group exhibition called “Documentation” at the John Gibson Gallery. Matta-Clark set up a small stove in the gallery and fried photographs of Christmas trees along with sheets of gold leaf in in a grease filled frying pan. The stove and transformed images served as documentation of Matta-Clark’s performance for the duration of the show. The fried photos were received by many of the artist’s friends as Christmas cards.
In 1969 Matta-Clark began brewing substances which he named after the bas medium he employed called Agar. After the long course of brewing various edible and non-edible substances, Matta-Clark poured the resulting mixture into trays to dry. Exposed to air, these sheets of Agar cured into Incendiary Wafers. As he described, “the agar acted as a virulent host for micro-organisms in the air and eventually dried out into beautiful, leathery fabrics of dominant life.” One of these trays was said to have blown up in the artist’s studio on Chrystie Street on New Years Day in 1971, and the remaining piece was taken outside and ignited.

Photo-Fry, 1969
Brochure with two black and white photographs mounted on paper with ink, 13 1/2 x 9 1/3 in.

Splitting, May 21, 1974
Taped conversation

Walls Paper

Offset on newspaper, 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.

Walls Paper, 1973
Offset on newspaper, 10 1/4 x 8 in.

Gordon Matta Clark with Barbara Dilley, Tina Girouard, Ted Greenwald, Richard Landry, Suzanne Harris, and Robert Prado

Dumpster, or Drag-On, or Open House

Matta-Clark arranged for a dumpster to be delivered between 98 and 112 Greene Street. The interior was divided into three rooms. There was no roof, but umbrellas were placed over the top when it rained. Greenwald played a tape recording of six and a half hours of sounds recorded on his newspaper delivery route. Caroline Goodden’s dog, Glaza, was the official host of the opening. Dilley, Girouard, Landry, Harris, and Prado performed while Matta-Clark barbecued a pig. The project was sponsored by Holly Solomon whose own 98 Greene Street space was frequented by many of the artists who worked and performed at 112 and ate at Food.

Gordon Matta-Clark with Robert Frank, Suzanne Harris and others

Films from Food, c. 1971
16 mm black and white film transferred to video

With this exhibition these four films are being shown for the first time. Chronologies of Gordon Matta-Clark’s films always include an endnote listing the footage from Food as an unfinished work. However, Matta-Clark’s editing of the films is far more complete than had ever been realized. Caroline Goodden recalls Matta-Clark working extensively with the footage over the course of several months in their Chrystie Street loft.

Special thanks to Bob Fiore, Steven Vitello, and Laurie Zippay of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York who made the restoration of the films and the production of the videos possible.

Gordon Matta-Clark with sound by Robert Frank

Food, Reel A, c. 1971
16mm black and white film transferred to video, 26 min.

Gordon Matta-Clark with sound by Suzanne Harris

Food, Reel C

16mm black and white film transferred to video, 17 min.

Photographer Unknown

Food, c. 1971
Black and white photograph, 10 1/2 x 8 in.

Installation photograph of work by Suzanne Harris

Cosmos Savage/Cosmos Sarchiapone

First Installation at 112 Greene Street, 1970
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Food, c. 1971-73/1998
Various documentary photographs, 8 x 10 in. each

These photographs are a print document shot on the same day as the film footage seen in this exhibition. The photographer, Cosmos Savage, can be seen taking these photographs in Reel B.

Gordon Matta-Clark Installing, 1972
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Holly Solomon and Gordon Matta-Clark inside Dumpster

Photographic documentation of event

Two views of Dumpster

Photographic documentation of event

Video Performance Series Audience, 1974
Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

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Food Expanded Exhibition Checklist

MEDIA COVERAGE

Murdock, Robert M. “Food.” Review: The Critical State of Visual Art in New York (New York), Feb. 15, 1998.

Muschamp, Herbert. “Thought for Food.”
Artforum, May 1998, pp. 3, 14.