Sina Najafi is editor-in-chief of Cabinet magazine, editorial director of Cabinet Books, and, together with Jeffrey Kastner, commissioning editor of the essays for the 2013 Venice Biennale catalogue. Najafi has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions and projects, including “Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates” at White Columns and the Queens Museum of Art in New York in 2005, which is the subject of this Tuesday Evenings presentation. Najafi explains, “In the early 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark discovered that the nearly bankrupt City of New York was auctioning off a large number of improbably tiny and frequently inaccessible parcels of land created by the exigencies of urban development. Fascinated by these eccentric spaces, he bought fifteen of them (fourteen in Queens, and one in Staten Island) for between $25 and $75 each, photographed them, and then collated the photographs with the associated deeds and maps. These collected materials are today known as Fake Estates. Over the next years, he considered using them as sites for his unique brand of ‘anarchitectural’ intervention into urban space but none of his plans were realized before he died in 1978. The materials that he had assembled went into storage and were not rediscovered until the early 1990s, when they were assembled into collages and exhibited as artworks by Matta-Clark, not without some controversy. Today, we can read Fake Estatesas oblique and poetic commentary on many of Matta-Clark’s signature themes, including property, materiality, and disappearance, but as posthumously produced artworks, they also raise many questions concerning the relationship between authorship, authority, work, documentation and, in the final instance, the writing of history.”
Sina Najafi’s Tuesday Evenings talk presents the intricacies of Matta-Clark’s original project alongside a critical examination of Cabinet magazine’s 2005 exhibition on Fake Estates.