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Collection > Allan McCollum >

60 Plaster Surrogates (No. 3)

1982-1990

  • Medium

    Enamel on Hydrostone

  • Dimensions

    88 x 224 in. (223.5 x 569 cm)

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Purchase with funds provided by an anonymous donor

  • Accession number

    91.28.1-.60

  • Object label

    ​Allan McCollum’s 60 Plaster Surrogates (No. 3) is a collection of cast plaster objects painted to simulate a frame, a mat, and, where the picture is supposed to appear, a black rectangle. Instead of focusing on the meaning or content of individual artworks, McCollum analyzes the role that art plays in our culture. His array of endlessly repeatable, interchangeable surrogates, or “signs for paintings,” illustrates a paradox in our desire for art. We want an art object to be unique, even though it is one object among many other objects. Generic and anonymous, McCollum’s surrogates suggest that the value of art is not tied to its formal properties or aesthetic qualities but to its social function as a decoration, or as a symbol of prestige in its owner’s home or in a museum.