Gordon studied for a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Also, he received a Master of Arts degree in Architecture from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, United States.
From 1971 to 1977 Matta-Clark made sixteen short films in both 16mm and super-8, some in black-and-white and some in color. They include Tree Dance, 1971, Automation House, 1972, and Conical Intersect, Paris, 1975. These experimental efforts attempt to document visually spaces not otherwise accessible to the viewer. Matta-Clark's photography initially grew out of his desire to document his architectural sculptures. He produced straight large-format black-and-white (later, Cibachrome) prints.
A freelance artist, Matta-Clark saw his works widely exhibited under the sponsorship of various individuals, museums and other groups in the United States and Europe. In 1974 he was an artist-in-residence at Art Park in Lewiston, New York, United States.