Allan McCollum: Perfect Vehicles

About the Exhibition

Allan McCollum (b.1944, Los Angeles, CA) began making the first works in his Perfect Vehicles series in 1985, presenting and re-presenting an iconic sculptural form in order to investigate the ways in which a single object can contain cultural meaning. All of the Perfect Vehicle sculptures bear the same shape—that of a Chinese ginger jar, a traditional vessel that has been extensively copied and reproduced for centuries. McCollum’s earliest works in the Perfect Vehicles series were just over a foot-and-a-half tall, and in 1988 he scaled them up to just over six-and-a-half-feet tall, the size of the works presented at Doris C. Freedman Plaza—although these sculptures are shown on pedestals for the first time, raising the overall height to almost 10 feet. Perfect Vehicles at Doris C. Freedman Plaza marks the first time in more than a decade that McCollum has made new works in this series, and is also the artist’s first-ever outdoor exhibition in New York.

The Perfect Vehicles are always thickly painted in a different hue of commercially available acrylic latex paint; the works here are black, red, and metallic gold, a majestic trio of colors that fittingly evokes traditional Chinese color schemes. Made of cast glass-fiber-reinforced concrete, they have no opening, utterly eliminating the typical use-value that one might expect of a vase. McCollum describes his work as “an homage to the idea of one thing standing for another.” The sculptures celebrate the way we look for meaning in the objects that surround us, and then use them as vehicles to express our own ideas.



Doris C. Freedman Plaza

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