Pier 52 / New York City / On the Hudson [ Day's End / aka : Day's Passing ]
  • ephemera
  • offset-printed
  • black-and-white
  • 8.6 x 14.2 cm.
  • [2] pp.
  • edition size unknown
  • unsigned and unnumbered

Pier 52 / New York City / On the Hudson [ Day's End / aka : Day's Passing ]

Gordon Matta-Clark

Pier 52 / New York City / On the Hudson [ Day's End / aka : Day's Passing ]


Postcard / announcement published in conjunction with opening of Gordon Matta-Clark's site specific installation Day's End [aka : Day's Passing ]at Pier 52, New York, held August 27, 1975. Text only printed on postage prepaid postcard.

A lack of commercial interest in piers and their associated warehouses had enabled Matta-Clark to gain access to pier sites on several occasions in the past (Untitled Performance, 1971 and Pier In / Out, 1973), but his project at Pier 52 was his master-work in this genre. It involved the cutting of a turn-of-the-century steel-truss building originally used by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company but long since abandoned. Matta-Clark was greatly impressed by its basilica proportions and light entering at the clerestory level; as he stated, he wished to turn this 'industrial hangar" into a "sun-and-water temple." Using a $4,000 CAPS grant to hire workers from June to August 1975, he simply took over the site, boarded and barbed-wired all alternative entrances except for the front door (on which he substituted his own lock and bolt), and began cutting. Not defined by a simple geometry as in, for example, Bingo (1974), but responding to the magical space of the building through a series of circular cuts that crossed with only sections of each removed, this was also his most complex cutting to date. Removing sections of ten-to-eighteen-inch-thick heavy steel walls and sturdy wooden floor supports, he first cut a nine-foot-wide moat across the middle, bisecting the front and back halves; the cut-out pieces were piled upon the entrance side of the moat. A crescent, sail-like shape was cut out of the side wall at one end of the moat (on the left as one entered), providing access to the river. An ovoid cut in the roof above created a circle of light below that at noon fell in the path of the moat. A large quarter-circle arc was cut from the floor in the southwest corner of the building with a circle cut above in the corner. The most spectacular and bold slice removed was the ovoid that appeared prominently like a cat's eye or moon in the main riverside facade which, like the rose window in a medieval cathedral, was located at the west end of the building. This admitted afternoon light, beginning with a sliver at noon and filling the pier with light by the end of the day.

Then Matta-Clark hired a rowboat from Central Park and trucked it to the site in order to photograph the building at different angles from the river. He also took video and film footage of the project. On August 27 he held an opening, with people arriving in buses from the Holly Solomon Gallery in SoHo, but festivities were soon ended with the arrival of the police, summoned by dock authorities who had become aware of Matta-Clark's use/misuse of the building during the last few days of his working there. He had planned to provide access to the building on Wednesdays and Saturdays from September to November, but this never took place because the city was investigating a possible lawsuit for one million dollars in damages. In his defense Matta-Clark claimed he had turned this abandoned building into an indoor park with water and light that constantly moved and changed throughout the day. The claim was finally dropped. -- from "Gordon Matta-Clark : A Retrospective," Chicago : Museum of Contemporary Art, pp. 78 - 82.

Condition:  Fine. Unsent card, pristine, clean and unmarked.
[Object # 24800]