Known for - and even overshadowed by - his brutal and spectacular building cuts, Gordon Matta-Clark’s oeuvre is unique in the history of American art. He worked in the 1970s on the borders between art and architecture and his diverse practice is often understood as an outright rejection of the tenets of high modernism. Stephen Walker argues instead for the artist’s ambivalent relationship with the architectural heritage he is often claimed to disavow, thus making this the first book to extrapolate Matta-Clark’s thinking beyond its immediate context. Walker considers the broad range of Matta-Clark’s ephemeral practice, from montage to actual interventions and from performance art and installation to drawing, film and video. Bringing to the fore the consistent themes and issues explored through this broad range of media, and in particular the complex notion of the ‘discreet violation’, he reveals the continued relevance of Matta-Clark’s artistic and theoretical oeuvre to the reception of artistic and architectural work today.
Set in post-Giuliani New York City, The Sea Beach Line melds mid-20th- century pulp fiction and traditional Jewish folklore as it updates the classic story of a young man trying to find his place in the world. After being expelled from Oberlin for hallucinogenic drug use, Izzy Edel seeks out his estranged father—a Polish Jew turned Israeli soldier turned New York street vendor named Alojzy who is reported to be missing, possibly dead. To learn about Alojzy’s life and discover the truth behind his disappearance, Izzy takes over his father’s outdoor bookselling business and meets the hustlers, gangsters, and members of a religious sect who peopled his father’s world. He also falls in love. As Izzy soon discovers, appearances can deceive; no one, not even his own father, is quite whom he seems to be. Vowing to prove himself equal to Alojzy’s legacy of fearlessness, Izzy plunges forward on a criminal enterprise that will bring him answers—at great personal cost. Fans of Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn, Nathan Englander’s For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union will relish to Ben Nadler’s combined mystery, love story, and homage to text and custom.