John McCracken

John McCracken

1934-2011
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Berkeley-born John McCracken was, along with Larry Bell, the Los Angeles representative of the minimalist sculpture movement that swept through the art world in the mid-1960s. McCracken’s geometric constructions were featured in the seminal 1966 exhibit Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum in New York alongside that of Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Carl Andre, and others—the show that is generally considered to have put minimalism on the map. Yet McCracken’s work—translucent colored resins applied in thin, lustrous layers to fiberglass-coated wooden forms—didn’t conform to the tenets of the new movement, and his work came to embody a more complex and non-doctrinaire position in art history.
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It was also in 1966 that McCracken arrived at the formal solution that was to become his signature. His vertical rectangular “planks” that sit on the floor, leaning against the wall at a slight angle, operate simultaneously in the physical domains of sculpture and painting. McCracken’s earliest minimal works had been geometric abstractions on canvas and board, and to this day he considers color to be his primary medium.

Nine Planks V
Polyester resin, fiberglass and plywood, 1974
96 x 19 x 2 1/4 inches
Gift of Murray and Ruth Gribin
1984.026
Untitled
High gloss lacquer over fiberglass on plywood
12 x 12 1/2 x 12 inches
Gift of Jerrold and Sandy Canter
2007.003.002