New York

Allan McCollum

Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

How does an art object encapsulate meaning? What is unique, and what is a copy? These questions have driven Allan McCollum’s work since the ’70s. His recent show—the result of a three-year project sponsored by the University of South Florida and undertaken with the help of a geologist and an electrical engineer from the school’s International Lightning Research Facility at Camp Blanding—continued such investigations. The art object in this case was not a painting or sculpture but a fulgurite, a tubular specimen of petrified lightning. McCollum has appropriated the phenomenon of natural casting before, making multiples of dinosaur footprints (1994–95) and the fossilized corpse of a dog from Pompeii (ca. 1991). But by casting lightning, he experimented with embodying the instantaneous and replicating it in sculptural form.

“The Event: Petrified Lightning from Central Florida (With

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