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Gordon Matta-Clark’s Celebrated Garbage Wall to highlight Chicago River at EXPO CHICAGO


 Acclaimed Art Installation to Address Pollution Problems in the Midwest


CHICAGO, IL – Garbage sourced directly from the Chicago, Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers will be used to create a high-profile installation for the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary/ Modern Art and Design, taking place at Navy Pier, September 20 – 23, 2012. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and gallerist Rhona Hoffman have worked to bring the late Gordon Matta-Clark’s Garbage Wall to Chicago to highlight water pollution issues in the Midwest.

The original Garbage Wall, constructed on the first Earth Day in April of 1970 at a public event in New York City, was deeply emblematic of the focus Matta-Clark placed on art, architecture, activism, and citizen engagement. For its Chicago reincarnation, the wall will highlight the Midwest’s troubling water pollution issues and reinforce the interconnectedness of North America’s great water ecosystems, the Mississippi River system and the Great Lakes via the Chicago River. The installation will inspire increased awareness and community action to change this devastating environmental reality.

“This installation at Navy Pier sits right next to the Chicago Lock—the exact point where the Chicago River connects the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system, which makes the piece all the more meaningful,” said Henry Henderson, Midwest Program Director and the first Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago. “Artists and architects play a critical role in heightening public interest and awareness of environmental problems. This version of Garbage Wall dovetails with the central work NRDC has been doing to protect our region’s fresh water resources. It will encourage people to rethink their relationship with our waterways, and the shared realities of pollution locally and globally.”

“Gordon was one of the most influential and provocative figures in 1970s art and architecture,” said Rhona Hoffman, owner and Director of the renowned Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago’s West Loop. “In the past forty years, Garbage Wall has only grown in significance, as the environmental problems we’re grappling with are far more complicated and widespread.”

Tony Karman, President and Director of the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO, continues, “Matta-Clark’s legacy continues to exemplify the power of architecture and design to effect real environmental change. We can see this commitment throughout Chicago, with architects like Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, whose designs continually challenge the perceived boundaries of aesthetics and sustainability.” Studio Gang Architects has designed the innovative interior environment of Festival Hall at Navy Pier for the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO.

The construction of Garbage Wall will take place during the week of August 20-24 at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery and will be supervised by Matta-Clark’s widow and the director of his estate, Jane Crawford. This event is open to the press, but registration through NRDC is required.

To learn more about EXPO CHICAGO, including the complete list of participating galleries, please visit www.expochicago.com. Find art images, including Garbage Wall, here. 

 The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing.

Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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