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Allan McCollum

Allan McCollum
Allan McCollum
Allan McCollum
Allan McCollum
Allan McCollum
Allan McCollum


This publication brings together, for the first time, one Bleach Painting, five Constructed Paintings and a number of late 1960s pieces ail of which presage McCollum's future work as much as they suggest the nature of his artistic practice at the outset of his career. As a complement to the show, reproduced in the pages of the catalogue, you will find thirteen works from this period-many juxtaposed with fine detail shots-ail painting to Allan's early interest in defining what a painting is by reducing it to its essential terms.

In her essay, “Allan McCollum's Unstretched Canvases” at the beginning of the book, Meredith Malone states that Allan's “earliest paintings represent a vital transitional moment for the artist, linking him to the formalist dialogues of the 1950s and 1960s while anticipating his growing preoccupation with issues of serial production and strategies of display evinced in his Surrogates and beyond. At the same time these canvases offer intriguing perspectives on the dominant discourses surrounding abstract painting in the beginning of the 1970s and McCollum's aspiration to test and strain them.” Archival images, many taken in and around Allan's Santa Monica studio in the 1970s, shed light not only on Allan's process, but also on the lasting place of these works in the artist's oeuvre.

Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition, Petzel, New York, from March 2 to April 29, 2017.

8 x 11 inches
44 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9863230-9-6

About the artist

Allan McCollum (born 1944, Los Angeles)

Over the past 50 years, Allan McCollum has explored how objects achieve public and personal meaning in a world caught up in the contradictions we make between unique handmade artworks and objects of mass production, focusing recently on collaborations with regional communities and historical societies in different parts of the world. In 2005, he designed The Shapes Project, a system to produce “a completely unique shape for every person on the planet, without repeating.”

His first solo exhibition was in 1970 in Southern California, where he was represented throughout the early 70s in Los Angeles by the Nicholas Wilder Gallery, until its closing in the late 70s, and subsequently by the Claire S. Copley Gallery, also in Los Angeles. After appearing in group exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, his first New York showing was at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1972. He was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Exhibition in 1975, and moved to New York later that year.

In 1978 He became known for his series Surrogate Paintings, which were shown in solo exhibitions in New York at Julian Pretto & Co., Artists Space, and 112 Workshop (subsequently known as White Columns), in 1979. In 1980, he was given his first solo exhibition in Europe, at the Yvon Lambert Gallery, in Paris, France, and in that same year began exhibiting his work at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, where he introduced his series Plaster Surrogates in a large solo exhibition in 1983. McCollum began showing his work with the Lisson Gallery in London, England, in 1985, where he has had a number of solo exhibitions since. In 1987 he joined the John Weber Gallery in New York, where he continued to show his work until 1996; subsequently, he began working with Petzel Gallery, also in New York.

Solo retrospectives of Allan McCollum’s work have been mounted at ICA Miami (2020);  Mary Boone Gallery, New York (2017); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2015); Michele Didier Gallery, Paris (2016); Galerie Mitterand, Paris (2016); the Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2006); Musée d’Art Moderne, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Lille, France (1998); the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (1995-96); Serpentine Gallery, London (1990); the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmo, Sweden (1990); IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia, Spain (1990); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1989), and Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (1988), among many others. He has produced public art projects in both the United States and Europe, and his works are held in over 70 art museum collections around the world.

McCollum’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including:  “Shapes/Colors,” Galerie des Bains, Geneva (2019); “Art & Entertainment,” MAMCO, Geneva (2018); “Exo Emo” at Greene Naftali Gallery, New York (2017); “In Place Of,” Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; “Fade In: Int. Art Gallery—Day,” Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art, New York (2016); “Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression,” High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon (2016); “The Art of Our Time,” The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, curated by Helen Molesworth (2015-2016); “New York in the 1980s: Urban Theater,” Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth (2015); “Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); 9th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2013); “This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2012-2013); “The Pictures Generation: 1974-1984,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2009); “Singular Forms,” The Guggenheim Museum, New York (2004); “The Museum as Muse,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1999); “L’Informe: Mode d’Emploi,” Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (1996); “Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1996); “Allegories of Modernism,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1992); “The 1991 Sydney Biennale, ”Sydney, Australia (1991); “Image World: Art and Media Culture,” The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989); “A Forest of Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation,” The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1989); “Aperto,” the 43rd Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (1988); “Implosion: et postmodernt perspektiv,” Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; and “Ailleurs et Autrement,” Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (1984), and many more.

A number of writers have published texts on Allan McCollum’s work, including Rhea Anastas, Nicolas Bourriaud, Martha Buskirk, Lynne Cooke, Hal Foster, Andrea Fraser, Suzi Gablik, Claude Gintz, Rosalind Krauss, Thomas Lawson, MaryJo Marks, Johannes Meinhardt, John Miller, Helen Molesworth, Lars Nittve, Craig Owens, Catherine Quéloz, and Anne Rorimer. McCollum has occasionally interviewed and written essays on fellow artists for books and catalogs, including Matt Mullican, Allen Ruppersberg, Andrea Zittel, and Harrell Fletcher.