Mel Bochner

(b. 1940)

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(1940– )

American artist, born in Pittsburgh. He moved to New York in 1963. The exhibition which he held in 1966 at the School of Visual Arts, New York, entitled ‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed as Art’, has been described as the first Conceptual art exhibition. Bochner himself disliked the term on the grounds that it set up a too easy dichotomy with ‘perceptual’. His works actually address the issue of perception and how it might be modified. Measurement Room (1969) uses tape and Letraset to mark out the measurements of walls, doors, and windows. Measurement Series (1967) sets the growth of a plant against a wall chart. Bochner challenges the idea of ‘boundaries’ and ‘stable properties’ of things. This stands in opposition to the formalist theory of art. If our perception of things is so dependent on accident and contingency, then the art object can hardly ever be perceived in the one true way that formalism demands. The actual experience of the room or the plant will always be more than its measurements. Bochner has also made work using photography, which explores the mechanics of artistic representation such as perspective and scale.

Subjects: Art.

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