David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of works by William Eggleston and John McCracken—the first time these two iconic American artists have been featured together. On view at the gallery’s East 69th Street location in New York, True Stories places Eggleston and McCracken into dialogue around their expressive use of color and light, and their distinct versions of American vernacular culture.
Born within five years of one another—McCracken in Berkeley, California, in 1934, and Eggleston in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1939—both artists came of age outside of the dominant centers of the art world, internalizing the spaces and light of the American West and South. Working in sculpture and photography, respectively, each would go on to break with the practices of their contemporaries and challenge the traditional boundaries of their media in search of a new form of expression.
Occupying a singular position within the recent history of American art, McCracken is known for his work that melds the restrained formal qualities of minimalist sculpture with a distinctly West Coast sensibility expressed through color, form, and finish.
Eggleston pioneered the use of color photography, elevating the medium to the art form that it is recognized as today, through his novel pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition. Both artists find common ground in their sharp formal sensibilities and distinctive eye for color.
Through their own unique visions, both artists eschew fixed meaning, privileging the subjective experience of the viewer and granting us access to a private world in which we might recognize a wider one and, in turn, also ourselves. Found within McCracken’s imbued spirituality or Eggleston’s embracing of the spiritual banal is the chromatically seductive revelation of the self in the everyday. What remains is a space for new stories, including our own.
Image: (Left) John McCracken, New Mexico, 1996 (detail); (Right) William Eggleston, self-portrait, c. 1967–1970 (detail)
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