John Harvey McCracken Biography
John Harvey McCracken (December 9, 1934 – April 8, 2011) minimalist artist. He was born in Berkeley, California, United States. He excelled in sculpture and was a reference to the Minimalist Movement. He dedicated four years of his youth to serve in the United States Navy. Subsequently, he entered the California School of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.
Obtaining a BFA in 1962 and completing most of the work for an MFA. Academic life allowed him to meet characters like Gordon Onslow Ford and Tony DeLap. He was hired at several recognized universities where he taught different art subjects, worked at the University of California, School of Visual Arts, University of Nevada, University of California, Santa Barbara, among others.
His first sculptural work was done with the minimalists John Slorp and Peter Schnore, and the painters Tom Nuzum, Vincent Perez, and Terry StJohn. Dennis also known Oppenheim, enrolled in the MFA program at Stanford. He began to experiment with increasingly three-dimensional canvases, McCracken began producing art objects made with industrial techniques and materials such as plywood, spray lacquer, pigmented resin, resulting in striking minimalist works with highly reflective and soft surfaces. He applied similar techniques in the construction of surfboards.
Later, McCracken was part of the Light and Space movement composed by artists such as James Turrell, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, and others. The biggest influences of the art circle were Barnett Newman and the minimalists like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, and Carl Andre. Thanks to this space, his sculptural work began to walk between the material world and design. He was the first to conceive the idea of the plank. The artist combined aspects of painting and sculpture in his work and many experimented with impersonal and elegant surfaces. In addition to the planks, the artist also created independent wall pieces and sculptures with different shapes and sizes, worked in highly polished stainless steel and bronze.
In McCracken’s work, it is usual to see solid colors in bold with its highly polished finish, it is a way that takes work to another dimension. His palette included pink gum, lemon yellow, deep sapphire and ebony, which he applied as a monochrome. He also made objects of stained wood, highly polished bronze and reflective stainless steel. For several years he relied on Hindu and Buddhist mandalas to make a series of paintings, they were exhibited at Castello di Rivoli in 2011.
His wife was the artist Gail Barringer, she revived to a certain extent her husband’s artistic career, and earned her the recognition of a younger generation of artists, merchants, and curators. Unfortunately, he died on April 8, 2011. Years before, his work had been honored in Documenta 12 in Kassel.
- “Primary structures” in the Jewish Museum (1966)
- “American sculpture of the sixties” at the Los Angeles County Museum (1967).
- “Inverleith House” at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2009)
His top ten auction prices exceed $ 200,000, including his high auction mark for a Black Plank, in polyester resin, fiberglass and plywood, which sold for $ 358,637 at Phillips de Pury & Company London in June 2007. More recently, Flash (2002), a red-board piece of firefighters, sold for $ 290,500 at Christie’s New York in 2010.
Nine Planks V, Blue column, Plank, Don’t tell me when to stop, Mykonos, Pyramid, Blue Post and Dintel I, Love in Italian, Right, Blue Post and Dintel, Yellow pyramid, The Absolutely Naked Fragrance, Violet Block in two parties, you won’t know which one until you’ve been to All of Them, Red Plank, Ala (Aile), among others.