John McCracken

22 february 2011 - 19 june 2011

curated by Andrea Bellini


The Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to present the largest retrospective to date of the American artist John McCracken (b. 1934, Berkeley, California. Lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico).
Among the leading historic exponents of the American Minimalism, together with Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, and other, John McCracken views art as a means of aesthetic and spiritual emancipation and his works are as prototypes for a world to come, one dominated by pure thought and an absolute form of beauty. Convinced that art can give form to a hidden dimension of matter and the universe, reawakening consciousness and enriching our live, McCracken, through the uniqueness of his artistic vision, reveals the true complexity of what we generically call “Minimalism”.
John McCracken became famous for what he refers to as “blocks, slabs, columns, planks. Basic beautiful forms, neutral forms.” The starting point for his “neutral form” is a minimalist object or primary structure, such as a cube or a board. Built out of plywood, and subsequently covered with fiberglass and polyester resin imbued with a vivid color, the neutral form transforms into an object that brilliantly combines the anti-illusionism of Minimalism, the colorful effects of car culture, and the idea of an immaterial mental space. Known primarily for these sculptures, McCracken has only recently received attention for his 1970s Mandala paintings, which has led to a new valorization of his oeuvre.

Long esteemed among the work of West Coast Minimalists, McCracken’s achievement is today understood as exemplifying an approach that defies established categories in order to open new fields of thought, such as the encounter with “presence” (McCracken’s term) and speculations about outer space.
The John McCracken retrospective at the Castello di Rivoli, which has been made possible thanks to the support of Fondazione CRT, has been developed in close collaboration with the artist. It presents approximately sixty historical works including early paintings from the 1960s never shown before, till his most recent works such as Wonder and Fair, two stainless steel columns from 2010, created by the artist specifically for this exhibition.
Curated by Andrea Bellini, co-director of the Castello di Rivoli, this exhibition will take place in the Manica Lunga of the museum and it marks the beginning of a series of retrospectives dedicated to key figures in contemporary art.