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Allan McCollum

Pam Beale


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One in a series of “constructed paintings” begun in the late 1960s, this work by Allan McCollum is made up of three-inch-wide rectangular strips of torn and dyed canvas adhered together with industrial caulking in a manner that evokes the patterning of brickwork or shingles. It was created at a moment when many artists and critics alike were reducing the concept of painting to its essential terms (pigment, two-dimensional canvas, and stretcher). Pam Beale works simultaneously within and against those terms as McCollum knowingly tests the then-dominant discourses surrounding abstract painting. His intention that the work be displayed flat against the wall emphasizes the painting’s two-dimensional character while also heightening the viewer’s awareness of it as an object with weight and tactility. The artist’s decision to name the work arbitrarily after a waitress at a nightclub in West Hollywood, however, complicates purely formalist concerns and belies his otherwise highly structured approach. In the context of McCollum’s career Pam Beale is a transitional work, linking the artist to the formalist dialogues of the 1950s and 1960s while anticipating his growing preoccupation with issues of serial production and strategies of display in the late 1970s and beyond. [Permanent collection label, 2017]

  • Artist Allan McCollum (American, b. 1944)
  • Title Pam Beale
  • Date 1971
  • Medium Dyed and bleached canvas with caulk
  • Dimensions unframed | 103 x 103 in.
  • Credit line Gift of Anne V. Champ, 1974
  • Object number WU 4516

Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970
J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, California), 10/01/2011 - 02/05/2012
Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin (Berlin, Germany), 03/15/2012 - 06/10/2012

Gesture, Scrape, Combine, Calculate: Postwar Abstraction from the Permanent Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/20/2010 - 09/20/2010

Contemporary Art—Selections from the Washington University Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/19/2001 - 03/18/2001

Anne V. Champ

Inscription Signed, titled, and dated in pencil verso lower-left corner: Allan McCollum "PAM BEALE" March '71

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