“Out of many, one,” which in Latin is emblazoned over the eagle on the seal of the United States, is especially tough to parse during election season, when we slice and dice the electorate, and pit red state against blue. It’s at the core of conceptual artist Allan McCollum’s “The Shapes Project,” a clever and challenging subset of which, “Perfect Couples,” is on view at Barbara Krakow Gallery.
McCollum has for years thumbed his nose at the art market’s tendency to value unique works over multiples by creating huge numbers of related individual objects. For “The Shapes Project,” which he’s been working on since 2005, he has set out to design a single shape for every person on the planet — these days, that tops out over 7 billion. Anticipating population growth, he has created a system that has the potential to produce up to 31 billion unique shapes, outfitted with a variety of swellings, corners, and cockscombs.