March 1, 2015

MODERN ART & DESIGN AUCTION

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Lot 197: Allan McCollum

Lot 197: Allan McCollum

Five Perfect Vehicles (5)

1986
Enamel and acrylic on solid cast hydrocal
Unique
One signed, dated, and inscribed "12-D" and "4 of 5"
Each: 19" x 8" diameter
Literature: Fraser, Andrea. Investigations Series: Allan McCollum. Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, U of Pennsylvania, 1987. For similar examples.
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Price Realized: $23,750
Inventory Id: 18096

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Employing repetitive production methods to create artworks made up of serial components and multiples, Allan McCollum (b. 1944) explores ideas surrounding the aura and the hand of the artist, and the sanctity placed upon singular, unique works of art. Applied to a larger context, McCollum seeks to understand and perhaps disrupt the values that society places upon objects of all types, from ordinary household items to the hallowed artwork.

In an interview with PBS's ART21, McCollum summed up his artistic concerns: "I was interested in how a painting wound up in a gallery or museum and all of the social aspects that determine the way we value things. I was interested in the structure of a couch, a table, a lamp or a potted plant as well as the painting. I was interested in how we define ourselves through artworks and also through other things like antiques or fossils or emblems that represent our city or state or country. It all goes back to an interest in cultural structure." In 1985, the artist began his "Perfect Vehicle" series—the title refers to the phenomena of inanimate objects becoming symbols for a persona's or a culture's intangible values. Five Perfect Vehicles (1986) is comprised of sculptures in the traditional shape of the Chinese ginger pot, a form that has been produced over and over again throughout history, both by artisans and in mass-production. However, McCollum's versions are nonfunctioning, and only operate as vessels in the metaphorical sense. As with many of his projects, McCollum uses assembly-line methods, enlisting laborers, assistants, and other craftspeople to confuse or problematize the value assigned to the artist's unique mark. The paint for his sculptures is also typically commercially formulated and purchased off-the-shelf, as opposed to a proprietary blend unique to the artist.

Throughout the course of his career, McCollum has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions. His work is in the collections of major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Sollins, Susan. "Allan McCollum: In Charge of His Own Destiny." ART21, Sept. 2013. PBS. Web. Dec. 2014. "Allan McCollum: Perfect Vehicles." Projects. Public Art Fund, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2014.

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