Mel BochnerView All Work
Mel Bochner is widely respected as one of the founders of Conceptual Art in the 1960s.
In Bochner's own words, "Whether in the public or the private domain, my recent work attempts to confront the ideologies and hidden agendas of language. Because as recent history has painfully taught us, all abuses of power begin with the abuse of language."
The works in this show contain groups of words, synonyms, starting with the simplest related words, and eventually de-evolving to vulgar phrases and colloquialisms. The path from a single word to a roll-call of the vernacular reflects the discrepancy between 'objective', lexical meaning and the perception of a 'subjective' individual. The chalky, all-caps lettering "speaks" the text while the wet-on-wet ground threatens to drown it out, further contributing to an overall sense of a communication breakdown. Mel Bochner's work was the subject of two major museum exhibitions in 2007: a 40-year retrospective of Bochner's drawings which finished a two-year museum tour at the San Diego Museum of Art in March; and a focused retrospective of his language-based works at the Art Institute of Chicago.