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IN SEARCH OF . . . : THE ART OF JOHN McCRACKEN

John McCracken got filed under “Finish Fetish” and “LA Minimalism” in the first phases of his career, which worked only to his short-term advantage. McCracken’s peers never really found a way to name his paranormal objects and objectives. It took a younger generation, readier to read our world as occupied by multiple intelligences and beings, to appreciate just how possessed and wildly empathetic McCracken was as an artist. And it’s still not clear what McCracken’s extraordinarily concentrated, homemade extraterrestrials—or the escalating consciousness within which he imagined himself and his art—might represent. To begin assessing the legacy of this singular artist, who passed away in April, Artforum asked curator and critic Linda Norden to investigate.

John McCracken, Magic, 2008, stainless steel. Installation view, Napa Valley, CA, 2009. Photo: Grant Delin.

“I’d like to see you visually,” I say to him.

“You wouldn’t make sense of it.”

I say, “Try anyway.”¹

BY HIS OWN ADMISSION

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