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Todd McLellan at exhibit debut

Todd McLellan

Things Come Apart, a new limited-run exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution, opens at the Orange County Regional History Center on February 10 and will be on display until May 6. Created by Toronto-based photographer Todd McLellan, the exhibit reveals the inner workings of some of our most common and prized possessions, from the bicycle to the iPod.

McLellan has literally perfected the art of falling apart, as he disassembles objects and meticulously arranges and photographs their components, sometimes capturing what happens when those components are in free-fall (one dramatic example is a piano). Like many great image makers, he has a passion for creating visuals that reach beyond one discipline.

Visitors to the History Center’s opening of Things Come Apart on February 10 will have an opportunity to meet McLellan, see demonstrations of his creative process, and ask him questions about his work.

“We’re always excited to host another top-quality exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution,” says the History Center’s manager, Michael Perkins. “To create Things Come Apart, Todd McLellan combined an artist’s eye and a scientist’s precision, and we’re especially happy that he’s joining us to open the exhibit. It’s an incredible chance for our members and guests to meet a truly innovative thinker who has opened up how we see our world.”

In Things Come Apart, McLellan explores both how objects are made and how technology has evolved over time. For example, the components of a record player, a Walkman, and an iPod illustrate the technical changes in sound reproduction over the years. The exhibit also celebrates classic examples of industrial design such as the sewing machine, the mechanical pencil, and the telescope and also explores ideas about reuse, repair, and recycling.

According to NPR’s “Picture Show,” “McLellan’s photographs seek to challenge our disposable culture by making transparent all the things that we regularly throw away.”

During his visit to the exhibit opening, McLellan will be available for media interviews from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, February 9, and will also speak at the History Center’s members’ opening on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, February 10, the museum will be open free to the public during regular hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with talks by McLellan at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.

Things Come Apart is an exhibition organized by Todd McLellan and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).