By MARY ANN MARGER
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 30, 2001
No, it's not a Chinese ginger jar. At 6 1/2 feet and 350 pounds, it's a single piece of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete covered with Moor-Glo paint straight from the can. The Ringling Museum of Art purchased it when artist Allan McCollum exhibited it with 15 others, all identical except for the color, in 1988. It is on view temporarily in the West Wing Galleries as part of a show called "Conceptual Diversity."
Can this really be art, since it's a clone of all the others? The uniqueness is in the concept, and the concept includes the cloning. It's no less art than an Ansel Adams photograph.
"Art is not about how well you can handle a paintbrush," Joseph Jacobs, curator of the 1988 show, said then. "It's a way you can make a statement or offer up a philosophy."
"Conceptual Diversity" runs through Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (including Labor Day). Admission is $9 adults, discounts for others, and includes the Circus Museum; the art museum only is free on Saturday. Call (941) 351-1660 (recording) or (941) 359-5723, or check www.ringling.org.