John McCracken: Thresholds by Robin Clark | David Zwirner
A work by John McCracken, titled Six Columns, dated 2006.

John McCracken: Thresholds

David Zwirner Books

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Published on the occasion of the comprehensive presentation of the artist's work at David Zwirner, New York in 2013, John McCracken: Works from 1963–2011 charts the evolution of the artist's diverse oeuvre, encompassing both well-known and lesser-seen examples of his production from the early 1960s up through his death in 2011 with a range of sculptures, paintings, and sketches. Featuring an essay by art historian Robin Clark, excerpted here, it includes reproductions of fascinating archival and documentary material that was discovered during the curatorial process, from the artist’s sketches to gallery invitation cards, early catalogue covers, historic photographs, as well as installation views of the exhibition.

A spread from a book titled John McCracken: Works from 1963-2011, published in 2013.

John McCracken: Thresholds
Robin Clark

John McCracken was a leading practitioner of minimal art, a mystic, an idealist, and an accomplished craftsman. His instantly recognizable geometric sculptures (blocks, columns, pyramids, and, in particular, planks) are both hermetic and expansive. Self-contained in their angular compression, McCracken’s sculptures are also exquisitely responsive to changes in ambient conditions such as light and movement. Often vibrantly hued or glossy black, these objects appear from some angles to be blunt forms, while from
other points of view the polished surfaces mirror their surroundings, causing the sculptures to appear ghostly or transparent (fig. 1 and plate 6). This paradox, and the suggestion of entertaining multiple realities simultaneously, is central to McCracken’s practice. McCracken refined his techniques as a craftsman not for the sake of craft itself, but to create works that in their reflective finish contradict their own materiality. “I like to foster work that actually is in the world,” he explained, “ . . . separate from the world, yet includes the world too.”

Read the full essay

Cover image:  John McCracken, Six Columns, 2006

William Eggleston and John McCracken
True Stories

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