Allan McCollum has taken a longstanding interest in exploring and visualizing notions of representation, symbolic systems, classification, and questions of originality. Looking at the way a symbol can become representative for a broad concept or group, McCollum has made a career out of creating new modes of representation, often in order to critique the way in which we create blanket generalizations for groups of unique people or things. Often collaborating with small community historical societies and museums, McCollum investigates the way that objects achieve personal and public meaning in a world that relies largely on mass production.
McCollum's work has been the subject of solo shows at institutions including he the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden. His work has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.