MoMA
Allan McCollum. Collection of Forty Plaster Surrogates. 1982 (cast and painted in 1984)
Allan McCollum

Collection of Forty Plaster Surrogates

1982 (cast and painted in 1984)
Not on view
Medium
Enamel on cast Hydrostone
Dimensions
Forty panels ranging from 5 x 4 1/8" (12.8 x 10.2 cm) to 20 1/4 x 16 1/4" (51.3 x 41.1 cm), overall 64" x 9' 2" (162.5 x 279.4 cm)
Credit
Robert and Meryl Meltzer and Robert F. and Anna Marie Shapiro Funds
Object number
417.1988.a-nn
Copyright
© 2015 Allan McCollum

McCollum has clustered together plaster models of forty monochromatic paintings of various sizes in the dense display style of a nineteenth-century salon. To produce this work, the artist and his assistants engaged in repetitive and communal labor that systematized and broke down the artistic process into stages of production: the creation of molds, the casting of plaster, and the application of enamel paint to create a smooth surface with no trace of the artist’s hand. Although the panels were all executed in this way, no two share the same dimensions and frame color. Handmade but standardized, Collection of Forty Plaster Surrogates integrates art and mass production, challenging conventional distinctions between these types of labor.

Gallery label from Contemporary Galleries: 1980-Now, November 17, 2011-February 17, 2014
Additional text

McCollum has clustered together what appear to be forty monochromatic paintings of various sizes in the dense display style of a nineteenth-century salon. The works are not framed paintings, however, but plaster objects whose black surfaces yield no images or painterly incident. By endowing these cast objects—nearly identical plaster forms with painted perimeters and central "pictures" of uniformly applied black enamel—with the bare-bones characteristics of paintings, McCollum confounds viewers' expectations, heightening their awareness of how they recognize and act toward art.

To produce this work, McCollum and his assistants engaged in repetitive and communal labor. To a degree, he transformed the artist's studio into an assembly line and a workshop and systematized the artistic process into stages of production: create molds, cast plaster, apply enamel paint. Although the panels were all executed in this way, no two panels share the same dimensions and frame color. Handmade but standardized, Collection of Forty Plaster Surrogates integrates art and mass production. McCollum asks viewers to rethink conventional distinctions between types of labor and to take into consideration the human effort embedded in all objects, artistic and otherwise.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 56
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Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource

Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource