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“Works Since 1969" at ICA Miami

Courtesy Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.


                                                                    ICA MIAMI AUDIO TOUR

Works: 1970–1974

On the occasion of Allan McCollum’s first US museum retrospective currently mounted at the ICA Miami, Petzel is pleased to present a special online exhibition of the artist’s rarely seen early paintings. Though the ICA Miami is temporarily closed due to COVID concerns, the show will be extended upon reopening and will subsequently travel to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis.

Over the past 50 years, McCollum has explored how objects achieve public and personal meaning in a world caught up in the contradictions between unique handmade artworks and objects of mass production. The works presented here focus on some of his earliest forays into art: the Bleach Paintings and Constructed Paintings. Dating from the early 1970s, they represent a key transitional moment anticipating the artist’s lifelong preoccupation with serial production and strategies of display.

Installation view, Constructed Paintings, Jack Glenn Gallery, Corona del Mar, California, 1971

Bleach Paintings

In this series, system and chance combine to create distinct compositions imbued with unforeseen accidents that expose the materials and process of their own making. To create the Bleach Paintings, McCollum first used gray household dye on an unstretched piece of canvas. After masking a series of horizontal stripes with tape, he poured the bleach over the surface. Once the tape and bleach were removed, a linear pattern remained, formed by the disappearance of the gray dye where the bleach had soaked into the canvas.

Allan McCollum, Untitled (Bleach Painting)

Allan McCollum

Untitled (Bleach Painting)


Canvas, dye, bleach

83.75 x 100 inches

212.7 x 254 cm

Detail, Untitled (Bleach Painting)


Untitled (Bleach Painting)


McCollum in his studio, Venice, California, 1972



Every project I've done has been an inquiry into
what it is we look for in an artwork and an attempt...
to relativize that process and put into context with
other objects that accomplish similar results.​

–Allan McCollum

Constructed Paintings in process, Venice, California, 1972

Constructed Paintings

The Constructed Paintings are additive and expansive. McCollum started with a series of small strips of dyed canvas and worked outward adhering the parts with industrial caulking in an overlapping manner that evoke the repetitive labor of brickwork or tilework. Because the cloth absorbs the dye unevenly, the edges and folds appear darker than the middle areas. He then caulked together the variegated strips, carefully juxtaposing dark, saturated pieces of canvas and much lighter passages to create the pattern. While his mechanized process remains consistent, no two Constructed Paintings are alike as he used a different systematic approach to arrive at a unique pattern for each work.

Bleach Painting outside the artist's studio, Santa Monica, California, 1970




McCollum with Constructed Painting in his studio, Venice, California, 1971

Installation view, Allan McCollum, Works: 1968–1977, Petzel, 2017

McCollum on "Constructed Paintings"

On the occasion of Meridians at Art Basel Miami Beach 2019.





"Allan McCollum's Unstretched Canvases" by Meredith Malone
"Allan McCollum's Unstretched Canvases" by Meredith Malone
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