Mel Bochner

United States 1940

Conceptual Art

Mel Bochner
Mel Bochner
United States
December 13, 2014

Mel Bochner is an American artist born in 1940. He is one of the pioneers of the Conceptual Art. In high school, Bochner studied Art with Joseph Fitzpatrick. He received his BFA in 1962 and honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 2005 from the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Bochner studied philosophy for a short time at Northwestern University in Chicago.

In 1964, the artist moved to New York, where he worked as a guard at the Jewish Museum. While in New York, he was given the opportunity to teach art history at the School of Visual Arts. It was at this school that Bochner had his first exhibition, the 1966 show Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art, consisted of photocopies of working drawings from his friends placed into four black binders on four pedestals. The show was well received, and was seen as a defining example of the Conceptual Art movement, where the concept of the presentation is the most important aspect of the artwork. In the 1970s, Bochner began to present his work in paintings. His works sometimes featured bright colors and words, and at other times appeared more conceptual than artistic, with the painting appearing carefully planned and executed rather than impulsive. His work employs a variety of media, from oil on velvet to glass stones and chalk on the floor. In 1979, Bochner took the position of senior critic in painting and printmaking at Yale University.

Bochner’s works have been widely exhibited throughout his career. In 1985, the Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery organized a major survey titled Mel Bochner: 1973-1985. Elaine A. King was the curator of this exhibition and it was accompanied by the publication of a catalog of the same title. This catalogue was given an award by the American Association of Museums. In 1995, the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, showed his work in a retrospective titled Mel Bochner: Thought Made Visible 1966–1973, which was also turned into a book of the same name. For his solo show at Sonnabend Gallery in New York in 2000, Bochner layered German and English versions of a text from Wittgenstein. In 2004, Bochner’s work was exhibited in the Whitney Biennial and was part of OpenSystems: Rethinking Art c. 1970 at London’s Tate Modern in 2005. In 2011, another retrospective, In the Tower: Mel Bochner, was shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His writings on art also include the book Solar System & Rest Rooms: Writings and Interviews, 1965–2007.

Bochner lives and works in New York.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015The Plot ThickensFraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2014Mel Bochner - Going Out Of Business! (And Other Recent Paintings On Velvet)Simon Lee Gallery, LondonSolo
2014Mel Bochner - Strong LanguageThe Jewish Museum of New York, New York City, NYSolo
2014Art=Text=Art - Private Languages Public SystemsUB Art Galleries - University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NYGroup
2014(Mis)UnderstandingWerke und Manifeste zur Fotografie - Museum Folkwang Essen, EssenGroup
2014A InusitadaMuseu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand - MASP, São PauloGroup
2014Playtime Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus & Kunstbau, MunichGroup
2014Zu Gast (4) Conceptual SpaceArbeiten aus der Sammlung Markus Michalke - Kunstsaele, BerlinGroup
2014Art By Te­Le­Phone..Re­Cal­Led - La Panacée, MontpellierGroup
2014CounterIntelligenceJustina M Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ONGroup
2013Mel Bochner - Proposition and Process: A Theory of Sculpture (1968 - 1973)Peter Freeman, Inc., New York City, NYSolo
2013Mel Bochner: Wenn sich die Farbe ändertHaus der Kunst München, MunichSolo
2013According To PlanBarbara Mathes Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013XerograhyFirstsite, ColchesterGroup
2013Missed ConnectionReynolds Gallery, Richmond, VAGroup
2013Summer ViewsGalerie Hafenrichter, NurembergGroup
2013Die Sammlung #321er Haus, ViennaGroup
2013Jew YorkZach Feuer Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Push pins in elastic spaceGalerie Nelson-Freeman, ParisGroup
2013When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969 Venezia 2013Fondazione Prada, VeniceGroup
2013Sign, Symbol, ImageEgeran Galeri, IstanbulGroup
2013Too Cool To LoseIKON Ltd, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2013The Temptation of the DiagramAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Open Work in Latin America, New York & Beyond: Conceptualism Reconsidered, 1967–1978Leubsdorf Art Gallery - Hunter College, New York City, NYGroup
2013Compelling ImagesMakeready Press Gallery, Montclair, NJGroup
2013The UnphotographableFraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art, 1966 And Recent WorksGallery Karsten Schubert, LondonSolo
2012Mel Bochner: Recent PaintingsEgeran Galeri, IstanbulSolo
2012Theory of Sculpture: Fontana's Light - Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CASolo
2012About StupidityThe Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petach TikvaGroup
2012Bad For YouShizaru Gallery, LondonGroup
2012A WINDOW ON THE WORLD, from Dürer to Mondrian and beyondMuseo Cantonale d´Arte Lugano, LuganoGroup
2012Notations: Contemporary Drawing as Idea and ProcessKemper Art Museum, Saint Louis, MOGroup
2012The Master Printer and the Collaborative ProcessInternational Print Center New York, New York City, NYGroup
2012Line PrintBridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2012Textual AttractionMary Ryan Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012The Floor Show: Gravity and MaterialsGagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CAGroup
2012Minimal MythMuseum Boijmans van Beuningen, RotterdamGroup
2012Second nature: abstract photography then and nowDeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MAGroup
2012Towards A Warm MathOn Stellar Rays, New York City, NYGroup
2012Text As ImageSenior & Shopmaker Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Grey FullJeff Bailey Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Mel Bochner - Photography Before the Age of Mechanical Reproduction + Some Drawings from the Sixties + Recent ReflectionPeter Freeman, Inc., New York City, NYSolo
2011In the Tower: Mel Bochner The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DCSolo
2011Segment #1ABorusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2011Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964–1977The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2011Contemporary Drawings from the Irving Stenn Jr. CollectionThe Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2011FaithSims Reed Gallery, LondonGroup
2011Atlas. How To Carry The World On One's Back?Sammlung Falckenberg, HamburgGroup
2011Segment #1Borusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2011Shelter - Art Against Trafficking in Women and Sexual ExploitationPeter Freeman, Inc., New York City, NYGroup
2011Anti-PhotographyFocal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, EssexGroup
2011Sculpture In So Many Words: Text Pieces 1960-75ZieherSmith, New York City, NYGroup
2010Mel Bochner - Photographs and Not Photographs 1966-2010Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2010S, M, LVan Doren Waxter, New York City, NYGroup
2010Post-War American Art: The Novak O’Doherty CollectionIrish Museum of Modern Art - IMMA, DublinGroup
2010Third ThoughtsCCA Andratx, AndratxGroup
2010Selections From The Hammer Contemporary CollectionHammer Museum, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010ITEM - Mitchell-Innes & NashWest Street, New York City, NYGroup
2010Double Up Double Up Quint Gallery, La Jolla, CAGroup
2010CONCEPT 70Hohenthal und Bergen, BerlinGroup
2010Minimalism: Logic Structure in the Graphic ArtsWorcester Art Museum, Worcester, MAGroup
2010Mirror MirrorJames Harris Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2010FAXPara Site Art Space, Hong KongGroup
2010Floor Corner Wall: Selected Work from The Rachofsky CollectionFort Worth Contemporary Arts, Fort Worth, TXGroup
2009Mel Bochner - M²Metroquadro, Rivoli, TOSolo
2009Mel Bochner - Blah, Blah, BlahRhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2009Cold PressPage Bond Gallery, Richmond, VAGroup
2009Idea As Art: Contemporary Works On PaperBoise Art Museum BAM, Boise, IDGroup
2009Contemporary Works from the Cleve Carney CollectionElmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, ILGroup
2009Why painting now?BFAS Blondeau Fine Art Services, GenevaGroup
2009Serralves 2009 - The Collection, 1st PartMuseu Serralves - Museu de Arte Contemporânea, PortoGroup
2009Photoconceptualism, 1966–1973Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NYGroup
2009Sculpture ShowEastside Projects, BirminghamGroup
2009Talk Dirty to Me…Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009Rich TextFleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2008Equivalence: Acts of Translation in Contemporary ArtMFAH - Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TXGroup
2008Perverted by TheaterApexart, New York City, NYGroup
2008The Sum of Its PartsThe Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2008For the Pleasure of SeeingPeter Freeman, Inc., New York City, NYGroup
2008GEOMETRY AS IMAGERobert Miller Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2008To Infinity and Beyond: Mathematics in Contemporary ArtHeckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NYGroup
2008Selections from the collection of Helga and Walther LauffsZwirner & Wirth, New York City, NYGroup
2008High Times, Hard Times. New York Painting 1967–1975ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, KarlsruheGroup
2008Sculptural ConceptsRichmond Center for Visual Arts, Kalamazoo, MIGroup
2007Mel Bochner - Domaine de Kerguéhennec Centre d'Art Contemporain, BignanSolo
2007High Times, Hard Times. New York Painting 1967 – 1975Neue Galerie Graz - Universalmuseum Joanneum, GrazGroup
2007If Everybody had an Ocean: Brian Wilson, une expositionCAPC - Musée d'art contemporain, BordeauxGroup
2007I can only see things when I movePositionen zeitgenössischer Kunst auf Papier - Kupferstich-Kabinett, DresdenGroup
2007NumericaSMS Contemporanea, SienaGroup
2007If Everybody had an Ocean: Brian Wilson: An Art ExhibitionTate St. Ives, St. Ives, CornwallGroup
2007Commemorating 30 Years Part III: 1991-2007Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2006Mel Bochner : Obscene, Money, Stupid, Meaningless and other recent paintings on black velvetRhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2006Mel Bochner - Drawing from Four DecadesWeatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCSolo
2006Focus: Mel Bochner--Language 1966-2006The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILSolo
2006Mel Bochner - Drawing from Four DecadesBirmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, ALSolo
2006Mel Bochner - Thesaurus PaintingsPeter Freeman, Inc., New York City, NYSolo
2003Mel Bochner - Measurement PaintingsMamco - musée d´art moderne et contemporain, GenevaSolo
2002Forum - Mel Bochner PhotographsCarnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PASolo
2000Mel Bochner, Measurements - Works From The 1960’S - 1990’SFRAC - Bourgogne, DijonSolo