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Allan McCollum creates a commissioned installation in the Portland desert

Tags: Allan McCollum / High Desert Museum / Portland Art Museum / Delia Paine

Allan McCollum, The Shapes Project. Courtesy of the artist and the High Desert Museum

High Desert Museum’s new exhibit – Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression – explores the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a U.S. government program that employed millions of people during the Great Depression, including artists, musicians and writers. More than 100,000 works of art were created with the assistance of the WPA, which commissioned future luminaries Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, among others.


The exhibition will highlight the history, people and impact of the WPA and will include relevant paintings and prints from the Portland Art Museum and an immersive scene from the Great Depression. In addition to the historical exhibition, the Museum has, in the spirit of the WPA, commissioned three contemporary artists to create original works, including the New York-based artist Allan McCollum (Los Angeles, 1944), who has spent more than 45 years exploring how objects achieve public and personal meaning in a world inundated by mass production. For this show, he has partnered with Bend artist Delia Paine to create an installation composed of more than six thousand buttons, each of them with a unique shape.


The exhibit will run from April 16th to October 2nd at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. For more information, please visit the museum’s website.