This catalogue brings together a selection of early paintings by the american artist, accompanied by an essay illustrated with archival images.
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.
Since the late 1970s, Allan McCollum (born 1944 in Los Angeles, lives and works in New York) has addressed the production, distribution, acquisition, display, and reading of the artwork. Art as a symbol of social and economic status, and thus the museum and the commercial gallery as authorities, have been the focus of his work from his first "Surrogate Paintings" (1978–1982), his "Individual Works" (1987–1989), his recent "Shapes Project" (since 2005), through the famous series of "Plaster Surrogates" (started in 1982), "Perpetual Photos" (since 1981), and "Perfect Vehicles" (since 1986), as well as in collaborations with Louise Lawler
and Laurie Simmons. In the 1990s, the artist's "art objects" were replaced by found objects belonging to a situated context and community (just as was the art itself), in an effort to explore local micro-politics and understand how his projects might develop in interaction with specific milieus. Thus, his constant use of strategies of multiplication, his examination of the museum as a discursive agent, and his recurrent interest in notions of display, as well as his attempts to find a generic form for any purpose, were entirely reconfigured by this displacement of context. Working with regional museums, heterogeneous audiences, and references ranging from paleontology to mineralogy, Allan McCollum has built a very strong and intriguing body of works that has remained, for some part, unknown to (or at least unseen by) the art world.