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About This Artwork
Red Plank, 1969
Wood, fiberglass and lacquer
244.1 x 56.6 x 7.9 cm (96 1/8 x 22 1/4 x 3 1/8 in.)
Twentieth-Century Purchase Fund, 1970.294
John McCracken was a pioneering figure of West Coast Minimalism in the 1960s, when many California artists were concerned with issues of light and color. Having begun his career as a painter, he moved toward a more object-based aesthetic, making abstract works in the form of basic geometric shapes such as cubes or quadratic volumes. In 1966 he developed what became his signature sculptural forms: tall, leaning planks made of wood, coated in fiberglass, and then painted with a highly finished lacquer. Striking in their monolithic simplicity and characterized by pure, monochromatic surfaces, McCracken’s handcrafted “planks,” which rest on the floor and lean against the wall, successfully blur the boundary between painting and sculpture.