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Disappearing Act

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“Fake Estates” (1973–1974)
At a public auction, Matta-Clark purchased tiny orphaned bits of land created by surveying and zoning irregularities, some as small as one square foot. The Ridgewood plot pictured here—the work is called Reality Properties: Fake Estates–“Long Alley” Block 3398, Lot 116—measures 32 inches by 350 feet, runs down this alley, and cost him $25. “The description of them that always excited me the most was ‘inaccessible,’ ” the artist said. Matta-Clark died before doing anything beyond the paperwork stage; after his death, the city reclaimed all the land. In 2005, Cabinet magazine organized “Odd Lots,” a show at the Queens Museum and White Columns that allowed visitors to take a bus tour of the “estates.”


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