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John McCracken
Brown Block in Three Parts
Mireille Mosler Ltd.
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by Jerry Saltz

John McCracken died of cancer on Friday, Apr. 8, 2011, at the age of 76. A lesser-known major Minimalist sculptor who emerged just a tick after the Donald Judd-Dan Flavin generation, McCracken worked in simple sculptural forms: His Pop-Minimalist surfboardlike leaning planks, boards and slabs spoke a formal language that was at once immediate, material, starkly abstract and spacey. These brilliantly colored, highly polished, exquisitely smooth sculptures -- all laboriously handmade of polyester resins, metal, fiberglass, wood and lacquer -- have the uncanny ability to appear solid, shimmer into nonexistence, look like light, oscillate, wobble and seem to levitate in an in-between dimension. He used color as an abstract solid essence; he often referred to his work as "mobile color chips." For me, his bright yellows, blues and reds have some of the lustrous richness of the light in Rembrandt or Barnett Newman, two of his heroes. They exist as solid Flavin fluorescent sculptures.