In 2014, the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Adam D. Weinberg, invited the artist David Hammons to tour the museum’s still empty new building. Weinberg remembers them standing with each other at the panoramic fifth-flooring window overlooking the Hudson and conversing about the background of the waterfront going through the museum, about what was there and what was absent.
Gone, due to the fact its demolition in 1979, was Pier 52, as soon as a warehouse for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Organization, and famous in the artwork globe as the location for a monumental do the job of guerrilla-model public sculpture referred to as “Day’s End” by the American conceptualist Gordon Matta-Clark.
The Matta-Clark piece was a work of excision, not development. In 1975, he commandeered the pier’s immense, by-then 50 percent-ruined, shed — it measured 50 ft significant and 373 feet prolonged — and with a smaller crew of personnel he slice openings in its walls and floors, the largest staying a quarter-moon-shaped incision in the sunset-struggling with west wall. His reason was to permit in light that would adjust in the course of days and seasons. He envisioned the basilica-scaled interior as “a peaceful enclosure, a joyous situation.”