Artist Portfolio: Allan McCollum


Allan McCollum, 10 Plaster Surrogates (pictured at right), 1982/92, enamel on solid cast Hydrocal, 10 parts, dimensions variable, 24 x 168" overall, courtesy John Weber Gallery, New York

Allan McCollum's critique of abstraction is directed toward the purest manifestation of the style: the monochrome canvas. McCollum undercuts the exalted claims of this form of abstract painting by creating what he calls "plaster surrogates," which are not shown singly, but in herds. Each surrogate is a painted replica of a framed black canvas, cast entirely in plaster. From a distance, they appear to be traditional abstract art objects. McCollum, however, describes them as "false pictures . . . which beckon me into the desire to look at a picture but which are complete in doing that, and that alone."


Allan McCollum: from Over 10,000 Invidual Works. 1987-88.



Exhibition at the Rooseum in Malmö, Sweden

September 11-October 21, 1990.

Curator: Lars Nittve

Allan McCollum (born 1944 in Los Angeles) is one of America's most widely acclaimed contemporary artists. In this first midcareer exhibition in Scandinavia he will be installing over 22,200 immaculately crafted objects, transforming the Rooseum in Malmö into an environment of dazzling theatricality.McCollum's work centres on the tension between the uniformity of the mass product and the authentic and exclusive character of the work of art.

Notions of variety and uniqueness, authenticity and reproduction, are clearly reflected in the five large series he has created since the 70s: Plaster Surrogates (only largest size on view in this exhibition), Perfect Vehicles (100 small and 18 large on view), Individual works (more than 20,000), Perpetual Photos (17) and Drawings (more than 2000). Each of these series consists of an ever growing number of appearently identical yet, on closer inspection, different and unique objects.