Allan McCollum: The World: A Moment in Time

Art Basel Unlimited | 13 to 16 June 2024
  • One of the leading ideas in Allan McCollum’s great conceptual oeuvre is identity and uniqueness in the enormity of our existence. He has found wonderful metaphors and concepts in the course of his career. One of the most outstanding among these is his name project that he begun around the year 2000. The latest development of this project is the work “The World: A Moment in Time” (2024) consisting of picture frames with the 1200 most popular first names in the world right now. It will be shown by Galerie Thomas Schulte at this year’s Art Basel Unlimited section in a 6 x 21 meter display. The world represented by the first names of most of its inhabitants.
  • Our name is a prime identification of our self and being called by our name is acknowledging our existence and indicates us individually in the mass of humans co-existing with us. And, as the critic Julianne Cordray writes: “There is a collective emotional investment in the act of giving names. Maybe we grow attached to something only after we have named it; we give ourselves names that fit our identities; or we share a name with those we are connected to.”
  • Allan McCollum, The World: A Moment in Time, 2024

    Allan McCollum

    The World: A Moment in Time, 2024

    1,200 inkjet prints on paper

    Each print: 21 x 29 cm | 8 1/4 x 11 3/8 in

    Each print framed: 22 × 30.5 × 2.5 cm | 8 3/4 × 12 × 1 in

    Allover dimensions variable

    Edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs

  • In the space of this installation, perhaps we instinctively seek out our own names or those of friends and family – like rummaging through collections of personalized knick-knacks at a souvenir shop. In their straight-forward manner, the prints also resemble name cards or tags, for example, used for attendees and participants of a large-scale event. They could be markers for people who aren’t there: those who haven’t yet arrived or else have already departed. In their pared down black-and-white simplicity, we might sense a certain somberness – like standing before a monument on which a list of names have been etched in remembrance – or find ourselves flooded with personal memories and associations, like opening an old address book.
  • McCollum developed his first work using this concept with the edition specialists at Graphicstudio at the University of South Florida. It referred to the 1200 most common first names of women and men as identified by the U.S. Census Bureau. Such he produced a similarly enormous piece in 2004 that qualifies as a portrait of almost all Americans alive at that time. Seeing these 1200 names displayed almost each and every American was named and such had his or her place in the picture. “The World: A Moment in Time” takes this a big step further.
  • About the artist

    About the artist

    Allan McCollum (born 1944 in Los Angeles) is a conceptual artist whose work is defined by his artistic and sociological investigation of the individual within processes of mass production. His central thesis transforms the relationship between viewer and artwork by challenging the producer/ receiver dichotomy. McCollum lives and works in New York.

    Allan McCollum's works can be seen in the world’s most important collections, including MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco MoMA, Centre Pompidou and various others around the world. McCollum has also been honored with numerous international museum exhibitions and catalogues, including in recent years exhibitions at Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum Haus Esters/Haus Lange, Krefeld, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf, Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Frankfurt’s Portikus, and Kunsthalle Zurich.