Physical Poetics: Gordon Matta-Clark and Language considers language-use by the artist and architect Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–78). Examining his notes, project proposals, letters, titles, and interviews, as well as words embedded in his films and photographs, this book-in-progress explores the semiotic element in what Matta-Clark called “anarchitecture,” UN-REG-U-TECTURE, and the NON-U-MENT. Accepting his often deliberately whimsical writings as artifacts of serious thought, the author contends that Matta-Clark’s puns, neologisms, and architectonic verbal/visual layouts enact on the page the obsessions with in-between spaces and multiperspectival gaps that mark his interventions in built space. Part close reading and part biography, Physical Poetics assesses the paradoxical durability of Matta-Clark’s words and their role in the reception of a vividly material oeuvre whose major site-specific works have without exception been destroyed.
Frances Richard is a critic and poet. She has been nonfiction editor at Fence and an editor at Cabinet; with Jeffrey Kastner and Sina Najafi, she cocurated the 2005 exhibition Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates. Physical Poetics: Gordon Matta-Clark and Language has been supported by an Arts Writers Grant from the Warhol Foundation, a Visiting Scholars Fellowship from the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, and residencies at the Farpath Foundation in Dijon and the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, both in France. Richard has taught at Barnard College and the Rhode Island School of Design, and has published three books of poems, See Through (Four Way Books, 2003), The Phonemes (Les Figues Press, 2012), and Anarch. (Futurepoem, 2012). She currently teaches at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.