Although he used such brutish tools as chainsaws, screw jacks, and acetylene torches, Matta-Clark (1943–78) had a surpassingly sensitive feel for the decrepit buildings, empty beer bottles (he once used a kiln to recycle discarded bottles into translucent bricks), and other forlorn materials that make up his sculptures. A four-bedroom house he'd sawn down the middle and gently split apart was described by the artist as "the perfect dance partner." In 1974, he cut eight 9 x 5 foot slabs out of an abandoned Niagara Falls beauty parlor and the three remaining fragments are painterly wonders: The exterior sides feature faded red shingles punctuated by the white geometries of door and window frames; the interior faces present a sawed-off staircase zigzagging down one scarred green wall while truncated floor joists beat a dark, staccato rhythm across the cracked white plaster of another. Photographic collages of the massive arcs, teardrops, and cones Matta-Clark cut through walls, floors, and ceilings document the lyrical spaces he constructed through selective demolition. Edged with colorful crazy quilts of sheared-off linoleum, wallpaper, and lumber, these voids achieved anarchic beauty... More >>>