Tuesday, August 30, 2011

John McCracken

Berkeley-born Minimalist sculptor and painter John McCracken died earlier this year at 78. He was honored in Turin with the beautifully installed retrospective shown here at Castello di Rivoli.

According to McCracken's obituary in the New York Times, ... he differed from the Minimalists — and from the Los Angeles “light and space” and “finish fetish” artists with whom his work was also affiliated — in his belief in U.F.O.s, extra-terrestrials and time-travel. In interviews that gave his work a distinct frame of reference, he frequently likened his art to something that an alien visitor might leave behind on earth. “Even before I did concerted studies of U.F.O.s,” he once told an interviewer, “it helped me maintain my focus to think I was trying to do the kind of work that could have been brought here by a U.F.O.”

McCracken's famous mandala paintings seem at first sight to rub the wrong way against his more pervasive monochromatic slabs -- but both are clearly rooted in the California of the Sixties and Seventies that saw their creation.