Art21 Exclusive

Allan McCollum: “Over Ten Thousand Individual Works”

SUBSCRIBE TO EXCLUSIVE: RSS | ITUNES | YOUTUBE | ARTBABBLE

Episode #129: Filmed in his Brooklyn studio, Allan McCollum reveals the process and logic behind the project Over Ten Thousand Individual Works (begun in 1982). Cast in plaster, hand-painted, and displayed in vast quantities, each Individual Work is a unique combination of shapes adapted from commercially-produced objects.

Applying strategies of mass production to hand-made objects, Allan McCollum’s labor-intensive practice questions the intrinsic value of the unique work of art. McCollum’s installations—fields of vast numbers of small-scale works, systematically arranged—are the product of many tiny gestures, built up over time. Viewing his work often produces a sublime effect as one slowly realizes that the dizzying array of thousands of identical-looking shapes is, in fact, comprised of subtly different, distinct things. Engaging assistants, scientists, and local craftspeople in his process, McCollum embraces a collaborative and democratic form of creativity.

Allan McCollum. Over Ten Thousand Individual Works, 1987–88. Enamel on cast Hydrocal, 2 inches in diameter each, with variable lengths, each unique. Photo by Fred Scruton. © Allan McCollum. Courtesy the artist.

Allan McCollum is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Systems of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes (link opens application), or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Wesley Miller. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Allan McCollum & Friedrich Petzel Gallery. Special Thanks: Celina Paiz, Marcie Paper & Adele Röder.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

 

  1. Pingback: jeannene langford - • Art 21

  2. cris ronk says:

    Although I admit it is a momentous task to create 10,000 individual and unique pieces, I can’t help but to be reminded of my brother who suffered from an addiction to methamphetamine.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

*