John McCracken

Born 1934. Died 2011.
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John McCracken Biography

John McCracken is an American Minimalist artist known for exploring simplicity and reductionism in his work. The artist’s Planks series comprises some of his most recognizable works; the sculptures are simple in form, uniform in color and appear unadulterated by signs of human touch, despite being hand-crafted by the artist.

McCracken was born in December 1934 in Berkeley, California. Before enrolling in the California College of Arts and Crafts, the artist served in the United States Navy for four years. At the California College of Arts and Crafts, McCracken studied alongside fellow Minimalist artists including John Slorp and Peter Schnore.

In 1966, McCracken completed his first iteration of the Plank sculpture, which consists of plywood, fiberglass and polyester resin. During this period, McCracken experimented with making other geometric shapes in his free-standing sculptures, including pyramids and ziggurats.

McCracken’s first inclusion in a significant exhibition came in 1966, when he took part in the Jewish Museum’s “Primary Structures” show; the following year, his work appeared in the "American Sculpture of the Sixties" exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum.

Throughout his career, McCracken taught at a number of institutions, including the University of California, Irvine; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the School of Visual Arts, New York; and Hunter College, New York.

McCracken died in 2011, at the age of 76. Today, his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

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