On view in Horizon Plaza
Two six-foot tall sculptures by noted contemporary artist Allan McCollum titled Perfect Vehicles now welcome Museum visitors from their site in Horizon Plaza, directly across from the South Wing entrance.
The Museum purchased these two cast cement sculptures in 2001. Each sculpture, painted a different pastel color, was originally placed at the Washington Street entrance to the Museum. In 2013 the pair were borrowed for an exhibition, for which they were restored and had new three-foot custom-made cast-concrete pedestals fabricated.
Since 2001 the Museum’s main entrance has moved to its southern façade, enhanced since 2011 by the Horizon Plaza. Working with an idea from the Director of Exhibition Design Tim Wintemberg, Chief Curator Ulysses Dietz decided to relocate the Perfect Vehicles to the new plaza, where they are now shown on their new raised pedestals, towering over visitors at nine feet tall.
“Frankly, Allan McCollum’s wonderful sculptures were a little lost in front of the main building,” Dietz said. “In their new home in Horizon Plaza, they once again fulfill the artist’s vision and welcome visitors to New Jersey’s largest museum.”
McCollum began making his first Perfect Vehicles in 1985, representing an iconic sculptural form in order to investigate the ways in which a single object can contain cultural meaning. All of the Perfect Vehicle sculptures bear the same shape—that of a Chinese ginger jar, a traditional vessel that has been extensively copied and reproduced for centuries. Each sculpture is thickly painted in a different hue of commercially available paint and has no opening, utterly eliminating the typical use that one might expect of a vase.
Presented singly or in groups, McCollum’s Perfect Vehicles invite a range of associations: they look like something you might find in the Newark Museum’s Asian Art department or in the storefront windows of Tiffany & Co.; but they could also be behemoth chess pieces or cartoon abstractions of an English bobby. It's just this ambiguity that is of interest to McCollum, and each reiteration brings a new layer of interpretation.
Born 1944, Los Angeles
Lives and works in New York
Perfect Vehicles, 1988-90
Acrylic latex paint on concrete
Purchase 2001 Helen McMahon Brady Cutting Fund 2001.6.1,2