Allan McCollum’s Thanks Markers

Allan McCollum (1944, Los Angeles) is an American contemporary artist. His first solo exhibition was held in 1970 and his first New York showing was at an exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York in 1972. At first, his dream was to become an actor, for which he moved to Essex, England. But in 1967, he decided to become an artist. He educated himself by reading the writings of Fluxus artists and the early structuralists. In the late 1960s, McCollum produced his early work, and in 1970 he established his own studio. His work was included in the Whitney Biennale in 1975, and he decided to move to New York City in the same year.

Ever since, Allan McCollum has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally. For example, his work has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, at the White House and in Paris at the Centre Pompidou. His work is included in over 63 permanent museum collections.

He became mostly well known for his Surrogate Paintings series, in the late seventies. One of the characteristics of his work is the use of mass production, creating over thousands of objects that are each unique, despite of the fact they are mass-produced.

One of the series that Allan McCollum made is the Visible Markers Series (1997-2002), a continuing series of multiple objects in different sizes and shapes, designed for use in expressing gratitude. The series exists of solid resin tablets bearing the word “Thanks” in bold lettering. In this way, McCollum explores his notion of the art object as something that gains its significance not through the making or presentation of the object, but through the process of its exchange. Giving this tablet to people is a unique and lasting way of telling them how grateful you are. It is a constant reminder of the importance of giving, appreciation and gratefulness.

The Visible Markers are now on auction at Famous Auction House. The markers are available in the colors green, blue, turquoise, yellow and beige. Bidding starts at 350 euros.