John McCracken (1934–2011) studied painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California, though he was drawn to sculpture shortly thereafter. His first solo exhibition was at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in 1965. In the following year, McCracken developed his plank sculptures, the works for which he is best known. These tall, narrow boards, reminiscent of surfboards with their highly polished surfaces and bold colors, are meant to be installed leaning against the wall. They relate to minimalist sculpture, as they do to the culture of custom-car painting prevalent in Southern California.