Mel Bochner is an American Conceptual Artist who throughout his expansive career spanning over five decades, has contributed significantly not only to the field of conceptual art itself but to fundamental gallery exhibition forms and strategies. Bochner is known to be a lover of geometric shapes, primary colours and since the 1990s works which consists of words as images.
Born in 194- in Pittsburgh he received early recognition for his talent and studied under Joseph Fitzpatrick and art teach who was also responsible for the education of other renowned arts such as Philip Pearlstein and Andy Warhol, and graduated in 1962 with his BFA in fine arts. After leaving Pittsburgh he studied Philosophy at North-western University before moving to New York and was eventually employed by the renowned art critic Dore Ashton to teach art history at the School of Visual Arts.
In 1966 Bochner produced a show at the School of Visual Arts entitled “Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed as Art” in which Bochner photocopied a friends work drawings as well as a $3,051.16 fabricator’s bill from Donald Judd. He collected the copies in four black binders and displayed them on four pedestals. These exhibit is seen a pivotal moment in the field of conceptual art. The show was remade for new audiences in New York in 1998.
During the 1960s Bochner also created several exhibition strategies including the process of using the walls of the gallery as the primary subject of the work as well as the use of photo documentation of temporary and performance work as an exhibition piece, therefore creating ‘not so much a sculpture but as a two dimensional work about a sculpture.
By the 1970s Bochner had began to make paintings, ranging from bold colourful works containing words or shapes to more conceptual pieces such as the 1998 Event Horizon which consisted of a series of canvases along a wall each showing a horizontal line and a number noting its width in inch. Bochner has exhibited his work extensively over the past fifty years; in 1962 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 2005 from the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. He currently leaves and works in New York City.