Born in Los Angeles, Allan McCollum has lived and worked in New York City since 1975. He has spent more than four decades exploring how objects accrue meaning through their manufacture (the handmade versus mass-produced), modes of display, and means of exchange. From his seminal Surrogate Paintings (1978–82) and Plaster Surrogates (begun in 1982) to his Perfect Vehicles (since 1986), Individual Works (1987–89), Visible Markers (1997–2002), and ongoing Shapes Project (an artist-designed system to produce “a completely unique shape for every person on the planet, without repeating”), McCollum has been an impressively prolific object-maker. Since his first one-person show in 1971 and New York debut a year later at the Sidney Janis Gallery, he has had more than 100 solo exhibitions, including retrospectives at the Musée d’Art Moderne, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Lille, France (1998); the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (1995–96); the Serpentine Gallery, London (1990); and IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia, Spain (1990).
Shapes from Maine, 2009. Installation view.