John McCracken

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Biography

My works are minimal and reduced, but also maximal. I try to make them concise, clear statements in three-dimensional form, and also to take them to a breathtaking level of beauty.

–John McCracken

John McCracken (1934-2011) developed his early sculptural work while studying painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While experimenting with increasingly three-dimensional canvases, the artist began to produce objects made with industrial materials, including plywood, sprayed lacquer, and pigmented resin, creating the highly reflective, smooth surfaces that he was to become known for.

Beginning in the 1960s, McCracken exhibited steadily in the United States and abroad, and his early work was included in groundbreaking exhibitions such as Primary Structuresat the Jewish Museum, New York (1966), and American Sculpture of the Sixties at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1967). In 1986, the major survey Heroic Stance: The Sculpture of John McCracken 1965-1986 was organized by P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, and traveled to the Newport Harbor Art Museum (now the Orange County Museum of Art), Newport Beach, California; Fine Arts Gallery, University of California, Irvine; and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas. In 2011, his work was the subject of a large-scale retrospective at Castello di Rivoli, Turin. Other significant solo shows include the Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2009); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent (2004); Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna; and the Kunsthalle Basel (both 1995).

In 1997, McCracken joined David Zwirner. In 2013, Works from 1963-2011 marked the gallery’s most comprehensive presentation to date, on view at the West 20th Street location in New York. On view February 24 through April 15, 2017, the gallery in New York presents the artist’s seventh solo show.

McCracken's work has been prominently featured in major group exhibitions worldwide, most recently in three shows organized as part of the 2011 region-wide initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 at the Getty Center, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, California; and Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California. Other group exhibitions include Time & Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2008); documenta 12, Kassel, Germany (2007); The Los Angeles Art Scene, 1955-1985, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2006); and A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958-1968, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2004).

Work by the artist is held in prominent international collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Art Institute of Chicago; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal; Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Harbor, California; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 

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