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.