Allan McCollum Predicts Art’s Extinction

THE DAILY PIC: At Mary Boone, are Allan McCollum's dinosaur bones stand-ins for what's in store for us?

THE DAILY PIC (#1766): I’d always thought of the massed objects of Allan McCollum as being all about modernist seriality, and art collecting, and mechanical (or in his case, not) reproduction. But I hadn’t thought of them as being about scientific inventories until I saw his current installation at Mary Boone gallery in New York. It is called “Lost Objects,” and consists of 240 concrete castings made from dinosaur bones in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. It was first presented at the great Carnegie International art show in that city in 1991.

Of course the piece connects art making and art collecting with other kinds of human curiosity and accumulation. But it also hints at the possibility that artworks may some day be mere remnants of a world that is gone, and which the future will have to reconstruct. Think Damian Hirst as T. rex.

One other thought, for the Warholians among us. (And who isn’t one of those?) We know that, as a boy, Warhol spent Saturdays sketching the natural history exhibits in the Carnegie museums. (I’ve found photos of his fellow weekend art students doing just that.) Which means that Warhol’s later play with repetition and seriality—all those repeating soup cans and Marilyns—may have distant roots not in modern art, but in Victorian science. (Photos by Lucy Hogg)

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