Minimal Art

John McCracken at David Zwirner is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: John McCracken's minimal slab just wanted some attention – any attention.

(© The Estate of John McCracken)

John McCracken's "Green Slab in Two Parts" (1966) comes from the retrospective of his work now at David Zwirner gallery in Chelsea. Disclosure: My parents own the mustard-yellow version of this same work, so I encountered it daily right into my early twenties. That disclosure also leads to what I want to say about it. There's often a sense that Minimalism is a rigorous movement with a fixed set of goals that must be understood in order to get readings of it "right". In living with my parent's piece, however, it always felt quite independent of specific manifestos and readings – it was just a thing (a 'specific object', even) that waited there for some attention, like an unusually patient pet. I believe that works of art only come to life when they're read by a viewer – the production of meaning is their bread and butter. But I'm not sure they have any investment in which meanings they produce.

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