John McCracken  (American, 1934-2011) 

John McCracken (American, 1934–2011) is associated with the West Coast school of Minimalism, and is critically acclaimed for his monochromatic sculptures that explore the purity of color and form, as well as question the relationship between sculpted objects and their surrounding spaces. Born in Berkeley, California, McCracken attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and later taught at the School of Fine Arts at the University of California, where students of Minimalist and Conceptual art flocked. In addition to sculpting, McCracken is an avid painter, whose early works use layers of lacquer and paint to build up their surfaces. These works directly affected his sculptural technique; eventually he began covering his sculptures in lacquer as well, sanding the edges of cubes and geometric shapes before covering them in resin to create a perfectly smooth, almost manufactured surface appearance. He is particularly known for his self-titled Planks, monochrome slabs made from wood, canvas, and steel that are often displayed projecting from a wall. McCracken’s work frequently unites the mediums of painting and sculpture, capturing the essence of color and form, while activating both the sculpture and the surrounding space. McCracken is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has exhibited his work at the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland, the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, and the Tate Liverpool, among other institutions.

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John McCracken, Blue Cube


John McCracken
Blue Cube

Casterline | Goodman Gallery
John McCracken, Brown Block in Three Parts


John McCracken
Brown Block in Three Parts

Mireille Mosler Ltd.
John McCracken, Untitled


John McCracken
John McCracken, Idea


John McCracken

Amy Wolf Fine Art
John McCracken, Untitled, October 30, 1973


John McCracken
Untitled, October 30, 1973

The Elkon Gallery, Inc.
John McCracken, Untitled, December 6, 1973


John McCracken
Untitled, December 6, 1973

The Elkon Gallery, Inc.
John McCracken, Untitled


John McCracken

The Elkon Gallery, Inc.
John McCracken, Untitled


John McCracken

The Elkon Gallery, Inc.
John McCracken, Untitled


John McCracken

The Elkon Gallery, Inc.
Past auction results (170)  View All
John McCracken, Dream II


John McCracken
Dream II, 2001
polyester resin and fiberglass on plywood


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John McCracken, Untitled


John McCracken
Untitled, 1980
polyester resin and fiberglass on plywood


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John McCracken, Black


John McCracken
Black, 1972
fiberglass, lacquer and wood


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1934   Born in Berkeley, CA
1957 - 1962   Studied at California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland, CA
1964 - 1965   Studied at California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland, CA
1966 - 1968   Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
1968   Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts Award
1968 - 1969   Professor, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
1975 - 1985   Professor, College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
  Lives and works in New Mexico
2011   Castello di Rivoli, ‘John McCracken: A Retrospective’, Turin, Italy
2010   David Zwirner, ‘New Works in Bronze and Steel’, New York NY
2009   Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, ‘John McCracken: Landing’, Edinburgh, Scotland
2009   Temi e Variazioni. Dalla grafia all’azzeramento, a cura di/curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venezia
2009   Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968, Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
2008   Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
2008   David Zwirner Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2005   Early Sculpture / John McCracken, Zwirner & Wirth, New York (solo)
2005   Franklin Parrasch Gallery and Joan T. Washburn Gallery, 'Wilder. A Tribute to the Nicholas Wilder Gallery Loas Angeles, 1965-1979', New York NY
2005   Albright-Know Art Gallery, 'Abstraction', Buffalo, NY
2005   Godt-Cleary Projects, 'Turrell + McCracken', Las Vegas/NV
2005   Tate Liverpool, ’Summer of Love’, Liverpool, United Kingdom
2005   ZKM Museum für Neue Kunst, 'EXIT. Ausstieg aus dem Bild', Karlsruhe, Germany
2005   Hauser & Wirth, ‚John McCracken/Paul McCarthy’, Zurich, Switzerland
2004   Museum of Contemporary Art, 'A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958-1968', Los Angeles, CA
2004   Galerie Almine Rech, Paris, France
2004   Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ’Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art From 1951 to the Present’, New York
2004   Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, ‚Perspectives@25: A Quarter Century of New Art in Houston, Houston/TX
2004   SMAK, Gent, David Zwirner, New York, NY (solo)
2003   LA Louver, Los Angeles (solo)
2003   Galerie Rolf Ricke, 'Der Weite Blick', Köln, Germany
2003   Lucas Schoormans Gallery, 'The Exquisite Object', New York, NY
2003   McClain Gallery, 'Space Vehicles: Allusion Objectified', Houston, TX
2003   Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design 'Minimalist Works from the Museum’s Collection', Providence RI
2003   The Norton Museum of Art, 'Minimal to the Max: The Brownstone Collection', West Palm Beach, FL
2002   Musée des Beaux-Arts, 'Multiples Objets de Désir', Nantes, France
2002   capc Mudsée d'art contemporain Entrepôt, 'Les années 70: l'art en cause', Bordeaux, France
2002   LA Louver, August 2002, Los Angels, CA
2002   Mary Boone Gallery, 'Surface to Surface', New York, NY
2002   Galerie Hauser & Wirth, 'Ten Years Galerie Hauser & Wirth', Zurich, Switzerland
2002   Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, 'Painting Zero Degree', Cleveland, OH
2002   Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes, 'Pieces de Collection/Œuvres Contemporaines', Nîmes, France
2002   Sammlun Hauser & Wirth in der Lockremise St. Gallen, 'The House of Fiction', St. Gallen, Switzerland
2002   Gavin Brown’s enerprise, 'big brown bag', New York, NY
2002   Lisson Gallery, London, England (solo)
2001   LA Louver, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2001   Grazer Kunstverein, 'Timewave Zero/The Poitics of Ecstasy', Graz, Austria
2001   Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, 'Künstlerräume/Sammlerräume', St. Gallen, Switzerland
2001   L.A. Louver Gallery, 'Sculpture', Venice, CA
2001   Fuller Museum of Art, 'Painting Zero Degree', Brockton, MA
2001   St. Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax, CA
2001   University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
2001   Zwirner & Wirth, 'I LOVE NY', New York, NY
2000   Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, ‘Chromaform. Color in Sculpture‘, Wichita
2000   Museum of Modern Art, ’Open End’, New York, NY
2000   aargauer kunsthaus aarau, ’Das Gedächtnis der Malerei’, Aarau, Switzerland
2000   Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, ‘Chromaform. Color in Sculpture‘, South Hadley, MA
2000   Cranbrook Art Museum, ‘Painting Zero Degree‘, Bloomfield Hills, MI
2000   The Whitney Museum of American Art, ‘The American Century: Art and Culture 1950-2000 (Part 2)‘, New York
2000   Umetnostna Galerija Maribor, '6th International Triennial the Ecology and the Art: "American Dreams"', cur. Nancy Buchanan, Maribor
2000   Espace de l’Art Concret Château de Mouans-Sartoux, 'art concret', Mouans-Sartoux, France
2000   John McCracken - Stainless Steel Sculptures, Zwirner & Wirth, New York, NY (solo)
2000   New Sculptures, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CA (solo)
2000   Lisson Gallery, London, England (solo)
2000   Almine Rech, Paris, France (solo)
1999   John McCracken: Sculpture 1987-1999, James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM (solo)
1998   A Arte Studio Invernizzi, Milan, Italy (solo)
1998   Flourescent Works, Galerie Art & Publique, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
1998   Studio la Città, Verona, Italy (solo)
1998   A Arte Studio Invernizzi, ‘John McCracken‘, Milan, Italy
1997   Lisson Gallery, 'John McCracken', London, England
1997   David Zwirner Gallery, New York, NY
1997   L.A. Louver Gallery, 'New Dimensions', Venice, CA
1996   Galerie Froment & Putman, Paris, France
1996   Galerie Froment & Putman, Paris, France (solo)
1995   John McCracken – Skulpturen, Galerie Tanit, Munich, Germany (solo)
1995   Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, Austria (solo)
1995   Galerie Tanit, 'John McCracken – Skulpturen', Munich, Germany
1995   Museum für Angewandte Kunst, ‘John McCracken‘, Vienna, Austria
1995   Kunsthalle Basel, ‘Protoplast (mit Gerhard Merz)‘, Basel, Switzerland