After Abstract Expressionism, one of the wider critiques of modern art was its fetishization of originality. Participating in this discourse, Allan McCollum reduced difference to a lowest common denominator in Surrogates, begun in 1978. Each painting in the series is unique in size but otherwise adheres to a formulaic pattern. More recently his Perpetual Photo series (198289) investigates the idea of the simulacra, a copy several degrees removed from the source, whose own existence is questionable. The artist photographs television stills and further abstracts his shots through cropping and enlargement to the point that the original image is impossible to locate. His manipulated picture frustrates the viewer’s gaze; and its pretense of representing something draws the eye into a cul-de-sac of seeing, yet continually defers recognition. One sees only an extracted image in a sepia-toned print, an abstract form meant to capture the essential nature of photography. Through a series of copies, McCollum has drawn out a tense, unstable original.