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Day’s End by Gordon Matta-Clark

What is today the parking lot for the Department of Sanitation, was once the site of Pier 52.  The abandoned piers along the Hudson River were remnants of various industrial eras of New York, all of which had long passed.

In 1975, as a monument to Chelsea’s long Industrial Age, Gordon Matta-Clark went to work on Pier 52. Slicing channels in the pier’s floors and ceiling, and cat eye shapes in the tin walls facing New Jersey, Matta-Clark turned the warehouse into a cathedral which he called “Day’s End”. The new holes acted as stained glass windows, casting the high noon sun into the dark waters below, and the setting sun in shapes throughout the interior of the pier.

Gordon matta Clark
Matta-Clark hoped to have the piece open to visitors twice a week, but the police rained on that parade and arrested him for trespassing and defacing property. This wasn’t Matta-Clark’s first piece on the Hudson pier, he’d done Untitled Performance in 1971 and Pier In/Out in 1973. The charges were eventually dropped.

Pier 52 was also famous for other reasons. When Matta-Clark entered in 1975 to make this piece, he was met with a gang of gays, as it was a popular hang out. SO popular and known, that in 1979 a gay porn called “Pier Groups” was made about the piers.

Who: Gordon Matta-Clark

What: Day’s End site

Where: the former Pier 52, West Street and Gansevoort Street

3 Responses to “Day’s End by Gordon Matta-Clark”
  1. Lori says:

    I love anything Gordon Matta Clark!

  2. Liberation says:

    There’s an exhibit at Leslie Lohman right now – The Piers: Art and Sex along the New York Waterfront – that includes work by Gordon Matta-Clark. It’s running through Pride weekend.

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