BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Miscellaneous quotes from the artist:

Whatever specific meaning the artist puts into a work, it will always retain its promise as a gift, its destiny as a keepsake. This is the artwork I am interested in making: an object filled with the absence of certain meaning, and yet rich with the quality of meaningfulness in and of itself.

— Allan McCollum, 1989.

We have come to consider "human" to mean all that we are which is not mechanical: spontaneous, expressive, passionate, and reflective. When we require of our art that it embody such humanity, we are asking the machine to not only determine for us what art can be, but also what it means to be one who looks to art for meaning. It doesn't make sense to do battle against the imagined encroachment of the machine into the human soul with an art that depends upon the machine to determine its qualities.

— Allan McCollum, 1989.

It is not only through the arts that our culture expresses itself. It is through all its efforts: its laws and its wars, its marking of class boundaries and its distribution of goods. The methods of mass-production, for instance, are an elaborately choreographed expression, a grand dramatization of an intimately shared wish: a wish to be as productive as nature, to procreate and replicate as well as the natural world which bears us. Art holds its mirror up to nature, yes, of course. But commerce also performs this mimicry in an equally energetic way.

— Allan McCollum, 1989.

In a world without mass-produced symbolic objects, we would have little need for the contrary concept of the unique artwork. But in our world, we are always working to protect the integrity of the unique against its debasement by the replica, to make defense against the threat of plenitude by retreating into the solace of scarcity. But if we could come to embrace the mechanisms that drive our passions, and understand these along with the passions that animate our machines„maybe then we could begin to look for an art which is both repetitive and expressive, both copy and original, both abundant and precious: an art to embody both the horror and the promise of modern life, without shrinking from either.

— Allan McCollum, 1989.

It's fascinating and touching that people work so hard to build an imminent meaning into things; that they pursue their desire to produce symbolic objects for themselves to keep, and to exchange with others. In our culture, an artwork is an object of this kind; and whatever specific meaning the artist works to put into it, it will always retain its promise as a gift, its destiny as a keepsake. This is the artwork I am interested in making: an object filled with the absence of certain meaning, and yet rich with the quality of meaningfulness in and of itself.

— Allan McCollum, 1989.


Links

Website with information on Allan McCollum
Selected texts
Dowloadable texts in PDF format
Album of images
Biography/Bibliography
Recent projects
Descriptions of different series, 1969-2004


[ Brief career summary with links: here ]
[ Briefer career summary with small picture and links: here ]
[ Career summary with critic's quotes and links: here ]
[ Career summary with critic's quotes and links and project pictures: here ]
[ Some selected pictures of the artist: here ]