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Blue Post and Lintel I, 1965

John Harvey McCracken

American, 1934-2011
Plywood, fiberglass and lacquer
102 x 32 x 17 in. (259.1 x 81.3 x 43.2 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick R. Weisman
© The Estate of John McCracken, courtesy David Zwirner, New York

Not on view

John McCracken espoused many of the formal characteristics advocated by his fellow Minimalists, and he incorporated industrial materials, reductive forms and negative space into his sculptures. However, McCracken also felt that his works conveyed an otherworldliness, drawn largely from the idea of the monolith. This suggestion of a spiritual world beyond the sculpture was not uncommon among modern sculptors. Stonehenge, in particular, was fundamentally important to the work of Hepworth and Moore, and its shape can be recognized in Blue Post and Lintel I. And when in 1968 Stanley Kubrick made his futuristic epic 2001, the director chose a plank as his monument, a pure geometric shape representative of hope, and a form for which McCracken was already well known. The present work, notably named after principal architectural elements, was one of McCracken’s first single-color works. Its purity of hue, polished finish and simultaneous reference to architecture and the monolith show how flexibly these sculptures—often placed into one simplistic category—express a variety of sensibilities, depending upon the interests of the artist.

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