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Mel Bochner: Strong Language. Exhibition view, The Jewish Museum. A founding figure of the Conceptual art movement of the s, Mel Bochner b. Using a variety of techniques—paint on canvas and velvet, drawing, printmaking, wall installations—the paintings riff on words and meanings in countless permutations.

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Bochner uses word games, incongruities, and even visual slapstick to draw the viewer into linguistic, phenomenological, and social puzzles. In his recent paintings, Bochner has explored painterly elements of high-key color, thick facture, and virtuoso brushwork. These works offer myriad pleasures for the eye, playing pictorial approaches against literary associations.

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Visual and verbal snares await the viewer, who is forced to negotiate a path between the opticality of color, the materiality of paint, and sometimes transgressive language. Within the Western philosophical tradition, Bochner has long been interested in Jewish thought, with its emphasis on text, language, and wordplay.

Yet the words he selects are hardly elevated or sacred—in fact, they are often mundane and secular. As in Roget, the formal and elegant and the colloquial and crude are lumped together. Bochner captures the language of the street, in which sources from Yiddish, queer theory, and hip-hop jostle one another. Kleeblatt with a text by Mel Bochner. It comprised four red squares: one rendered with precise lines, the other three made with imperfect or gestural strokes to form a border.

The whiteness of the wall between each shape emphasized its straight or distorted edges. Bochner used the wall like a notebook, offering notes toward a visual proposition. In conjunction with this exhibition, the Museum presents his commissioned painting Blah, Blah, Blah This is the second installment of the revived series Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings.

It belongs to a larger suite of works centered on this repetitious phrase, 8am to 11am discrete pleasure weary, inarticulate expression of boredom and jaded irritation. Other works feature the word BLAH written over and over in azure swaths of paint. Drips, erasures, and smears suggest an attempt to silence a cacophony of pointless chatter.

Expressionist brushwork and thick facture distort their shapes, building a staccato pattern of legible and illegible words; the effect is of a chanting chorus of annoyed or perhaps amused voices. As in Theories of BoundariesBochner plays with notions of borders and negative space, with meaning and the gaps in meaning, with the relationship of the material to the ineffable: As knowledge is to practice…no thought exists without sustaining support.

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The artist Mel Bochner b. Bochner moved to New York City in and worked as a security guard at the Jewish Museum while developing his art and his critical skills, having also been recruited by Dore Ashton to teach Art History at the School of Visual Arts. Later in that decade, he evolved several of the exhibition strategies now taken for granted, including using the walls of the gallery as the subject of the work and using photo documentation of ephemeral and performance works.

Bochner began making paintings in the late s—some colorful and containing words, others more clearly connected to his earlier Conceptual work. Leadership support is provided by the Barbara S. Horowitz Contemporary Art Fund. Generous additional support is provided by Michael Kapland and Bonnie Postel in loving memory of their parents Dr. Jack Allen and Shirley H. Kapland, Suzanne F. Weinberg Fund, with additional support from Marshall M. Weinberg, the Rita J. Kaplan Foundation, the Saul and Harriet M. Rothkopf Family Foundation and Ellen Liman.

Search for. Facebook Twitter Instagram Privacy policy. August 27, The exhibition is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Jewish Museum. There is nothing related.

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Mel Bochner: Strong Language