Descriptions of Different Series
by Allan McCollum, 1969 - 2010





Allan McCollum.
Bleach Painting.
1969.
Bleach on dyed canvas,
72" x 84".

Bleach Paintings...series begun in 1969

The Bleach Paintings are made by first dying a stretched or unstretched piece of canvas with grey dye, then masking off a series of linear stripes with masking tape, and pouring household bleach over the entire surface. After a while the masking tape is removed, and a linear pattern is revealed which has been formed by the disappearance of the grey dye where the bleach has soaked its way into the canvas. Click here for larger picture.

The Bleach Paintings have sometimes been made on small cotton handkerchiefs.




Allan McCollum,
Constructed Painting,
1970-71,
canvas, dye and caulking,
231 x 245 cm.

Constructed Paintings ...series begun in 1969

The Constructed Paintings are pieced together from rectanguar pieces of canvas. Each canvas piece is individually coated with dye, paint, sand, or other material, and attached to the next piece with rubberized caulking. An arithmetic system is used so that the assembly of each final Constructed Painting forms a pattern that is different from every other Constructed Painting.

The Constructed Paintings are stapled directly to the wall, and can be made as large as the strength of the materials will allow. Click here for a selection of pictures.




Allan McCollum.
Untitled Paper Constructions,
1974.
Watercolor and pencil,
each 16" x 24".

Untitled Paper Constructions...series begun in 1974

The Untitled Paper Constructions are pieced together from sixteen basic shapes that the artist has had commercially printed on Bristol drawing paper. Each shape is torn out by hand and covered with pencil or paint, and the shapes may be pieced together indefinitely to form an indefinite amount different paintings and drawings of an indefinite amount of different sizes. Click here for larger picture.




Allan McCollum.
Surrogate Paintings,
1980/81

Surrogate Paintings...series begun in 1978.

The Surrogate Paintings are made from wood and museum board, glued and pressed together, and painted all over with many coats of paint. Each Surrogate Painting is unique in size. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum.
Glossies,
1980

Glossies...series begun in 1980.

The Glossies are made with inks and watercolors on Bristol drawing paper. Each Glossy is covered with a self-adhesive plastic laminating film. The Glossies are gathered into collections, in the way old snapshots are gathered into shoeboxes. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum.
Plaster Surrogates.
1982/84.

Plaster Surrogates ...series begun in 1982

Rubber molds are taken from selected Surrogate Paintings, and these are used to cast the Plaster Surrogates. The Plaster Surrogates are cast in gypsum, and are painted all over with many coats of paint.

Plaster Surrogates with black centers are given different colored mats and frames: around 20 different sizes of Plaster Surrogates have been painted with around 140 different frame colors, which have been combined with around a dozen different mat colors, which can produce many thousands of unique Plaster Surrogates.

The Plaster Surrogates are grouped into collections of many different amounts. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum.
Surrogate on Location,
1982

Surrogates on Location (Location Photos)...series begun in 1982

When a framed object is seen in the background of a television scene that resembles a Plaster Surrogate, a snapshot of the television screen is taken.

The Surrogates on Location photos are produced as copy prints, and are used to supplement the Plaster Surrogates.




Allan McCollum.
Perpetual Photo (No. 10),
1982/84

Perpetual Photos...series begun in 1982

When a picture frame containing an indecipherable image is seen in the background of a television scene, a snapshot is taken of the television screen. The indecipherable image is then enlarged photographically, and put in a new, larger frame. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum and
Louise Lawler.

Ideal Settings:
for Presentation and Display.
1984

Ideal Settings...series begun in 1983 (in collaboration with Louise Lawler).

The Ideal Settings are objects that resemble small sculpture bases, usually cast in gypsum from rubber molds, and colored black, for presentation and display. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum.
Perfect Vehicles.
1986

Perfect Vehicles...series begun in 1985

The Perfect Vehicles are cast in solid gypsum from rubber molds, and painted all over with many coats and many colors of paint. They are grouped into small collections, and each collection is unique. Larger Perfect Vehicles are cast from glass fiber reinforced concrete, and are also painted all over with many coats of paint. Each of the larger Perfect Vehicles is unique in color. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum
& Laurie Simmons.
Actual Photo.
1985

Actual Photos...series begun in 1985 (in collaboration with Laurie Simmons).

To make the Actual Photos, tiny human figures produced for model train layouts are purchased directly from the hobby shop, and photographed just as they come out of the package through a microscope at the pathology lab at a local hospital. The tiny heads in the Actual Photo portraits are actually no more that 2 mm in diameter. Click here to learn more about this project.



 
Allan McCollum.
Individual Works,
1987/88

Individual Works...series begun in 1987.

To produce the Individual Works hundreds of small shapes are casually collected from peoples' homes, supermarkets, hardware stores, and sometimes from the sidewalks: bottle-caps, jar-lids, drawer-pulls, salt-shakers, flashlights, measuring spoons, cosmetics containers, yogurt cups, earrings, push-buttons, candy-molds, garden-hose connectors, paper-weights, shade-pulls, Chinese tea-cups, cat toys, pencil sharpeners, etc. From this collection of shapes many rubber molds are produced from which replicas of these shapes can be hand-cast in plaster in large quantities, thus creating a vocabulary of shapes which can be combined to produce new shapes, and so forth. A simple numerical system is used during the production process to insure that no two finished Individual Works will ever be alike. Each unique Individual Work is hand-cast in gypsum, and hand-painted with an enamel paint. The Individual Works are usually gathered into collections of over 10,000 per collection. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum and Louise Lawler.
Fixed Interval,
1989/93.
Lacquer on cut brass, 6 x 4 inches.
Based on their 1984 series of the same name.

Fixed Intervals...series begun in 1988 (in collaboration with Louise Lawler).

The Fixed Intervals are tiny graphic symbols, or dingbats, enlarged to about from six to eight inches high, sometimes cast in gypsum from rubber molds, and sometimes cut from metal. A Fixed Interval is mounted on a wall to take the place of an artwork which is missing. Click here for larger picture.




Allan McCollum.
Drawings,
1989/93.
Pencil on museum board.

Drawings...series begun in 1988.

The Drawings are created through using variations of only two basic graphic elements: 90 degree arcs and straight lines. Combinations of these elements are cut into hundreds of different plastic templates which can be paired in many thousands of different ways. The Drawings are produced entirely by hand, using artists' drawing pencils on ragboard. The system of templates is expandable to produce unique Drawings up into the billions, and a simple numerical system is used to insure that no two Drawings are ever exactly alike. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum
The Dog From Pompei,
1991.

The Dog From Pompei...series begun in 1990.

The Dog From Pompei casts are taken from a mold which was made from the famous "chained dog" plaster cast in the collection of the Museo Vesuviano, in Pompei, Italy. The original dog was smothered in volcanic ash during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and its body left a natural mold in the earth after it deteriorated over the centuries. This natural mold was discovered by excavators in 1874, and they produced the original cast by pouring plaster into the cavity, and excavating the resulting cast once it had hardened. The original natural mold was destroyed in the process. The Dog From Pompei casts are produced in polymer-enhanced gypsum. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum
Lost Objects,
1991.

Lost Objects...series begun in 1991

The Lost Objects are cast in glass fiber reinforced concrete from rubber molds taken of a selection of fossil dinosaur bones in the collection of the Vertebrate Paleontology Section of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and coated with many coats of enamel paint. There have been fifteen molds made, and the casts have been painted in around fifty different colors, making over 750 unique Lost Objects to date. The Lost Objects are grouped into large, unique collections of different sizes and colors. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum,
Natural Copies From the Coal Mines of Central Utah,
enamel on polymer-reinforced gypsum.

Natural Copies...series begun in 1994

The Natural Copies were produced: (a) by dinosaurs walking over spongy beds of decaying vegetation (peat); (b) by the footprints being filled with sand; (c) by the accumulation of thousands of feet of additional sediment, which compressed the peat to help form coal and solidified the sand to sandstone; (d) by removal of the coal in mining operations so as to leave the tracks protruding downward into the mine from the mine roof; (e) by the mine workers brushing away the residue of coal to expose the sandstone filling the original track; (f) by the mine workers removing the natural track casts from the roofs with chisels, often for mine safety reasons; (g) by the workers taking the casts home to use as ornaments for their front yards or as conversation pieces in the reception areas of local businesses; (h) by the casts later being donated to the local College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum, in the coal mining town of Price, Utah; (i) by the artist working in cooperation with the museum to make molds of their entire track cast collection; (j) by these molds being taken to New York City; (k) by Natural Copies being made from the molds in glass-fiber-reinforced Hydrocal; and finally, (l) by painting the Natural Copies all over with many coats of enamel paint. There have been forty-four molds made and the casts have been painted in eight different colors making over 352 unique Natural Copies to date. The Natural Copies are grouped into unique collections of different sizes and colors. Click here to learn more about this project.



   
Allan McCollum,
Visible Markers. 1997.
2-1/2 x 2 x 8" each.
Pigmented concrete.

  Allan McCollum,
Visible Markers. 2000.
1-1/2 x 2 x 4"
diameter each.
Oil-based enamel
on Tufcal.

  Allan McCollum,
Visible Markers
(Danke). 2000.
5/8 x 3 x 1-1/2" each.
Cast polyurethane.


Visible Markers...series begun in 1997

The 1997 Visible Markers series are losenge-shaped ingots cast in pigmented cement, approximately 2 1/2" x 2" x 8", bearing the engraved inscription "THANKS." To date, there have been around two thousand Visible Markerscast, in six colors.

The 2000 Visible Markers series are tablet-shaped ingots cast in Hydrocal, approximately 2 1/2" x 4" diameter, bearing the engraved inscription "THANKS," and painted with oil-based enamel. To date, there have been around one thousand Visible Markerscast, in twelve colors.

The 2000 Visible Markers (DANKE) series are losenge-shaped ingots cast in white polyurethane, approximately 5/8" x 3" x 1 /2", bearing the engraved inscription "DANKE." To date, there have been around five hundred Visible Markers (DANKE) cast.




Allan McCollum,
Parable,
1997-98
Pigmented Concrete.

Parables...series begun in 1997

The Parables are pigmented concrete cast replicas of an actual stump of an Elm tree that died of the Dutch Elm disease in 1997. They are approximately 48" x 48" x 30." The original stump was found on the grounds of the Wanås Foundation, in Knislinge, Sweden. To date, there have been twelve Parables cast, in around twelve colors. Click here to learn more about this project.



     
THE EVENT:
Petrified Lightning
from Central Florida
(with supplemental didactics)


...series begun in 1997

THE EVENT: Petrified Lightning from Central Florida (with supplemental didactics) involved the artist creating his own lightning strike, with the help of the International Lightning Research Center in Camp Blanding, Florida. The lightning was directed to hit a 44-gallon receptacle filled with sand, in order that a natural fulgurite would be created (a fulgurite is a natural glass formation created when lightning hits sand or rock). There were over 10,000 casts of the "Petrified Lightning" made from epoxy mixed with zircon sand mined from the site of the lightning strike, and 13,000 booklets (66 different) printed to explain the project. The fulgurite replicas were made to be exhibited along with the 13,000 booklets, all on tables. The project was designed to involve as many local people from as many different disciplines as possible. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum,
Small World Drawings,
2000
Pencil on rag paper.

The Small World Drawings...series begun in 2000

The Small World Drawings are small pencil drawings on rag paper, 4" x 6" each. All the given names from a particular community are grouped into all the possible pairings, and each pair of names are drawn by the artist in block lettering, with a "plus" sign between them. To date, there have been over 1000 Small World Drawings made. Click here to learn more about this project.



 
Allan McCollum,
New City Markers,
(in process) 2001
Brushed aluminum.

  Allan McCollum,
New City Markers,
installation detail, 2001
Permanently installed on apartment building, Malmö, Sweden.


The New City Markers...series begun in 2000

The New City Markers are small heraldic symbols cut from brushed sheet aluminum. A system was devised that can produce an indefinite number of these symbols, each completely unique. Around 1,000 of the symbols were created to mark each building and each residential apartment in a large new building development in Malmö Sweden — the "The City of Tomorrow." Each new resident of the new development is assigned a unique symbol that is never repeated within the system, and the symbol is placed over each resident's door. To date, there have been around 1,000 unique New City Markers made and installed. Click here to learn more about this project.



 
Allan McCollum, Five Allegories. 2001. Cast polyester resin.
  Allan McCollum, small souvenirs of the Five Allegories. 2001. Cast plaster and polyester resin.
Allegories...series begun in 2000

The Five Allegories a project for the city of Montpellier, France. Molds were made from five mutilated, deteriorating, and vandalized statues from the grounds of an abondoned eighteenth century mansion, and five new, colorful replicas were cast in polyester resin and placed on five concrete bases, next to the city's new cultural center building. Click here to learn more about this project.




A painting of Mount Signal by local Imperial Valley artist Ginger Ryerson. Oil on Canvas.
"Sand Spikes," special types of sand concretions once found by the thousands at the foot of Mount Signal.

Signs of the Imperial Valley:
The Sand Spikes of Mount Signal
... produced in 1998-2001

Around six projects were executed by the artist for the desert communities of Imperial Valley in California, and the Valle Mexicali, in Baja California, Mexico. The artist developed the project on his own, and was ultimately joined by many local people and institutions from the area, including inSITE 2000 in San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico. The projects included curating four art exhibits of local artists who had made paintings, drawings, and photographs of Mount Signal, a local mountain that is a source for the "sand spike" concretions which are unique to the area; a permanent outdoor fifteen-foot concrete monument of a sand spike; sixteen educational booklets on sand spike concretions in Spanish and English; a geological exhibit on the topic of sand spike sand concretions; two series of local souvenirs; a large eight-foot wide model of Mount Signal; and an exstensive, permanent website with poetry, scientific writing, artwork, local graphics and images, and other references to the mountain and its associated concretions. The project was designed to involve as many local people from as many different disciplines as possible. The projects were generously supported and partially financed by inSITE 2000. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum, Topographical Models of Kansas and Missouri 2003.
Hydrostone casts, with white primer.


The Topographical Model Donation Project for One Hundred and Twenty Historical Society Museums in Kansas and Missouri ...series begun in 2003

The The Kansas and Missouri Topographical Model Donation Project, a regional project for one hundred and twenty small historical society museums in the states of Missouri and Kansas. Two topographical models were carved using Geological Information Systems data, from which rubber production molds were made. The molds were used to produce replicas of the models in large quantity. The artist undertook a letter-writing project, offering to donate the models to over 250 small historical society museums in towns all over the states of Missouri and Kansas, with the expectation that each museum would paint and use its model in a display in whatever way suited its particular program. 120 museums accepted the donations. The artist delivered all of the models personally, in the Summer and Fall of 2003. The project was largely financed by Grand Arts, a gallery and workshop in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum, Matt Mullican. Your Fate (detail). 2003. Acrylic dice, imprinted, 3/4 x 3/4 x 3/4 inches each.

YOUR FATE...series begun in 2003 (in collaboration with Matt Mullican)

Your Fate is a system for answering unanswerable questions, or perhaps divining your future. A unique collection of symbols was created in a number of different forms, including a set of twenty-five specially imprinted dice and a series of drawings. The dice are accompanied by a manual, which aids in the interpretation of the symbols. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum, Each and Every One of You. 2004.

Each and Every One of You...series begun in 2004

The Each and Every One of You project is made up of three portfolios of 1200 individual unique digital prints each. Each portfolio contains prints of the 600 most common female names and the 600 most common male names, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent compilation of common names used in the U.S. Each group of prints is organized according the name's frequency of use, in it's own walnut box. The project was published by Graphicstudio, in Tampa, Florida. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum,
The Shapes Project 2005-


The Shapes Project...series begun in 2005

The Shapes Project is a system to create a large quantity of unique shapes, one for every person on the planet when the world population peaks in the middle of the twenty-first century. To make certain that the system will be able to accommodate everyone, it has been organized to produce over 31,000,000,000 different Shapes, which is more than the highest population estimates might require. For the time being, a potential of around 214,000,000 Shapes have been reserved within the system for creative experimentation. The Shapes are being created as computer 'vector' files, and can be produced in hundreds of ways: drawn or sculpted by hand; or printed graphically as silhouettes or outlines, in any size, color or texture, using all varieties of graphics software; or the files can be used by rapid prototyping machines and computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) equipment—such as routers, laser and waterjet cutters—to build, carve, or cut the Shapes from wood, plastic, metal, stone, and other materials. The Shapes are also being made available to others, with the hope that people will come up with many interesting ways to use them. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum,
The Shapes from Maine
2005/08-


The Shapes from Maine...series begun in 2005/08

The Shapes from Maine project is series of unique handmade objects, based on The Shapes Project, created in collaboration with folks operating small businesses out of their homes, in the state of Maine, using their websites to invite interested buyers. The organization of the projects was all done over the internet, without any face-to-face meetings. Click here to learn more about this project.




Allan McCollum,
Shapes for Hamilton
2005/10-


Shapes for Hamilton...series begun in 2005/10

The Shapes for Hamilton project is series of 6000+ unique Shapes prints, based on The Shapes Project, created in collaboration with art students, staff, and faculty at the Colgate University Department of Art and Art History, in Hamilton, New York. The size of the project was based on the 6000+ residents who form the population of the township of Hamilton, and involved the printing and exhibition of the prints, and a subsequent series of public distribution events throughout the township, to give each resident a unique Shape of their own, as a gift. Click here to learn more about this project.




SELECTED TEXTS, ETC.

INTERVIEWS AND TEXTS BY THE ARTIST

OTHER TEXTS

PROJECTS

BIOGRAPHY/BIBLIOGRAPHY

DESCRIPTIONS
of different series', 1969-2009


ALBUM
selection of pictures


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