Why wasn't I surprised to see a tall thin man standing erect, pillar like, when I found this image of John McCracken outside his New Mexico home? Later when reading an interview with him he was asked if his planks weren't like portraits of himself. He had to admit that they probably were and he could see himself more often creating portly sculptures if his own body type were not quite so lithe. He very much could be part of Stonehenge himself.
Looking at the photo again and seeing this tall thin man looking skyward, it also wasn't surprising to find that McCracken has a connection with the paranormal, UFO's and aliens. When asked if he is a follower of Eastern philosophy, his response is that he finds it like Western religion, philosophy and psychology -- a bit stilted and rigid. His interests run to Casteneda and Edgar Cayce and the channeled entity called Seth. When describing his own work John McCracken has said:
You've got a physical object that exists in different lighting conditions, environments and you're mixing different states and atmospheres of mind. So you have many possibilities for different kinds of perception. Sometimes my work looks like junk to me-stupid and brainless. And other times it looks like messages from the world I have interest in.
Others have described his work with their finely finished surfaces as being dramatically alive, perhaps like a computer screen or a pool of water. Or somewhere in between -- I know that the Black Box can evoke all sorts of reactions but they're all very positive. Ultimately McCracken's work whether it is the Black Box or his planks is very positive and optimistic.