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Mel Bochner, Blah Blah Blah, 2013. Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery.

Mel Bochner: Blah Blah Blah

Mel Bochner, who is famous for his paintings that incorporate words, began experimenting with the phrase “Blah Blah Blah” in 2008. For Bochner, the saying was “the black hole of language,” as “Blah Blah Blah” could mean nearly anything when used in conversation. On one hand, the expression signals intimacy—those who know each other well can use “Blah Blah Blah” as shorthand, as if those conversing can read each other’s minds in that moment. On the other hand, the phrase “Blah Blah Blah” can be entirely meaningless. Bochner explains, “We live in a world that is oversaturated with empty language—small talk, tweets, texts, leet speak, chit-chat, pop-up ads, telephone-answering messages (‘your call is important to us…’), warnings on medicine bottles (‘if you have an erection lasting more than four hours…’). If there is no escaping this linguistic tsunami, the ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’ paintings subvert it from below.”

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