Mel Bochner

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“Blah blah blah,” Mel Bochner’s seminal 2008 work of the same name says to viewers. Bochner’s conceptual work invites viewers to investigate the differences between “seeing” and “reading” art, superimposing words and colors in combinations that make viewers pause. For example, the Conceptual artist will cover canvases in obscenities painted in innocent hues of baby pink and blue or sweet words rendered in soiled browns and inky blacks. Bochner is perhaps most celebrated for his “Thesaurus” pieces that feature lists of synonyms—such as “Amazing! Awesome! Breathtaking!”—and encourage viewers to think about their day-to-day word choices. This series began when Bochner was in his twenties, creating word-based portraits of his friends and fellow burgeoning artists Eva Hesse, Robert Smithson, and Dan Flavin.

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