John McCracken Press Release


September 8—October 14, 2006

Opening on September 8, 2006, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by John McCracken. The artist was the subject of a solo exhibition at S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium in 2004. His work was prominently represented in major recent group shows including The Los Angeles Art Scene, 1955-1985 at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France (2006), and A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958-1968 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA. This will be McCracken's third exhibition at the gallery, and will inaugurate David Zwirner's new space at 533 West 19th Street.

Since the mid-1960s, John McCracken has been a key figure in the conceptual expansion of abstract art; in particular, Minimalism. Best known for "planks"–monochromatic, rectangular sculptures that lean against the wall–McCracken typically makes each resin or lacquer work by hand rather than using industrial fabricators. Plywood forms are coated with fiberglass and layers of resin and sometimes lacquer, and each work is meticulously handcrafted and taken to a high polish. The resulting forms are nearly translucent, offering the viewers' reflection as a reminder of the heightened physicality of pure abstract form. In addition to the planks, his freestanding monoliths and smaller wall pieces seem to occupy the space between sculpture and painting by suggesting volumetric color as its own conceptual entity.

This exhibition will include new planks, columns, and an 8-part wall piece–all in varying shades of black. One new stainless steel column will also be on display. A logical step from the vibrantlycolored monochromatic works, the black and near-black surfaces will further push the idea that an object that becomes as abstract and unfamiliar as possible begins to transcend the connotations of its materials. McCracken has said, "…All things are essentially mental–that matter, while quite real on the one hand, is on the other hand composed of energy, and in turn, of pure thought." 

Amid the boundaries of art and architecture, and suggesting the integrity of abstraction as a psychological and physiological process, McCracken manages to create entirely new connections to Minimalism's central themes. Thus, his work is linked to, but not defined by, a literal Minimalist aesthetic. Moreover, these deceptively simple works may also suggest an otherworldly or unexplained presence.

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