Mel Bochner, ‘Head Honcho’, 2014, Public Art Fund Benefit Auction 2015

Estimated value: $7,500

The pioneering conceptual artist Mel Bochner never minces his words. The brightly colored rows of synonyms that relate to power and position in this recent monoprint exemplify Bochner’s signature text-based works and his playful but trenchant approach to language.

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Two Palms

About Mel Bochner

Mel Bochner’s approach and materials constantly vary; in fact, the artist formally disavowed allegiance to a single material in his famous essay titled “the Medium and the Tedium” (2010). Bochner—who has produced paintings, installations, and photography—is noted to be one of the most influential pioneers of Conceptual art, and the organizer of the first Conceptual art exhibition in 1966. A recurring theme in Bochner’s work is the relationship between language and physical space or color. This is famously demonstrated in his “Measurement” installations of the late 1960s, visualizing the exact dimensions of rooms and exhibition spaces, and thesaurus-inspired paintings of a single word and its synonyms. Bochner formally studied under Douglas Wilson and Wilfred Readio, though his eventual style would draw strong influence from the works of Clyfford Still and Jean Dubuffet.

American, b. 1940, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York