Mel Bochner (American, b.1940) is one of the pioneers of Conceptual Art. He has helped to develop many of the techniques used by the Conceptual and Installation artists who followed him into the art world. In high school, Bochner studied Art with Joseph Fitzpatrick, a teacher of young gifted artists. In 1962, he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA, where he studied art. Bochner went on to study philosophy for a short time at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

In 1964, the artist moved to New York, where he worked as a guard at the Jewish Museum. While in New York, he was given the opportunity to teach art history at the School of Visual Arts. It was at this school that Bochner had his first exhibition; the 1966 show Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art consisted of photocopies of working drawings from his friends placed into four black binders on four pedestals. The show was well received, and was seen as a defining example of the Conceptual Art movement, where the concept of the presentation is the most important aspect of the artwork. Further teaching work followed for Bochner; he took the position of senior critic in painting and printmaking at Yale University in 1979, and taught at Yale in 2001 as adjunct professor.

In the 1970s, Bochner began to present his work in paintings. His works sometimes featured bright colors and words, and at other times appeared more conceptual than artistic, with the painting appearing carefully planned and executed rather than impulsive. His work employs a variety of media, from oil on velvet to glass stones and chalk on the floor. Bochner's works have been widely exhibited throughout his career. In 1995, the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT, showed his work in a retrospective titled Mel Bochner: Thought Made Visible 1966–1973, which was also turned into a book of the same name. In 2011, another retrospective, In the Tower: Mel Bochner, was shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His writings on art also include the book Solar System & Rest Rooms: Writings and Interviews, 1965–2007. The artist's work is represented by Peter Freeman, Inc. in New York, NY; Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles, CA; Galerie Nelson-Freeman in Paris, France; Galleria il Gabbiano in Rome, Italy; and Two Palms Press in New York.

Bochner lives and works in New York.

Timeline

1940
Born in Pittsburgh, PA
1962
BA at the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
2001
Appointed professor at Yale University, New Haven, CT
2005
Recipient, honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University
Lives and works in New York, NY

Exhibitions

2014
Jewish Museum, New York, USA (solo)
2013
Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (solo)
Fundacao Serralves, Porto, Portugal (solo)
2012
Theory of Sculpture: Fontana's light, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
If the Colour Changes, Whitechapel Gallery, London, USA (solo)
Photography Befor the Age of Mechanical Reproduction + Some Drawings from the Sixties + Recent Refections and Recursions on Dis / Tension and Crumpling, Peter Freeman Inc., New York, USA (solo)
In the Tower : Mel Bochner, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (solo)
2010
Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Photographs and Not photographs 1966-2010, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
Galerie Nelson-Freeman, Paris, France (solo)
Third Thoughts, CCA Andratx, Mallorca, Spain
Double Bind / Arrêtez d'essayer de me comprendre!, Villa Arson, Nice, France
Mel Bochner, Photographs and Not Photographs 1966 – 2010, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
Mel Bochner, Galerie Nelson-Freeman, Paris, France (solo)
Mel Bochner, New Works, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
2009
Mel Bochner, Blah Blah Blah, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
Mel Bochner, Metroquadro, Rivoli, Italy (solo)
Mel Bochner at The Art Show organized by Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, USA
2008
Geometry as image, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA
Mel Bochner, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York, USA (solo)
Mel Bochner, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
2007
Dessin et série, Collège Jacques Cartier, Chauny, France
Mel Bochner, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Bignan, France (solo)
Mel Bochner, Galerie Nelson-Freeman, Paris, France (solo)
Mel Bochner, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, USA (solo)
2006
Mel Bochner: Recent Paintings on Black Velvet, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
Focus: Mel Bochner Language 1966 – 2006, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA (solo)
Mel Bochner, Thesaurus Paintings, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York, USA (solo)
Mel Bochner: Drawing from Four Decades, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, USA; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, USA
2005
Looking at Words, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, USA
Dessins de la collection/Drawings from the Collection, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Canada
Building and Breaking the Grid, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
OpenSystems: Rethinking Art c.1970, Tate Modern, London, England
The Last Picture Show: Artists using Photography, 1960-1982, Miami Art Central, Miami, USA
Wahlverwandtschaften, Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt/Main
2004
2004 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
Visions of America, Sammlung Essl-Kunsthaus, Klosterneuburg, Austria
INTRA-MUROS, Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice, France
Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form 1940s−70s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
Schriftbilder/Bilderschrift, Galerie von Bartha, Basel, Switzerland
The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
2003
Rien ne presse/Slow and Steady/Festina lente (cinquième épisode) and Mel Bochner: Measurement Paintings, Musée d´art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland
The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
"Game Over," Galerie Grimm/Rosenfeld, Munich, Germany
PRIVATE/CORPORATE II: EIN DIALOG DER SAMMLUNGEN, DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
Selected American Graphic Prints from the Lincoln Center Collection, City Art Museum Ljubljana, Mestna Galerija 1, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dust Memories, SI Swiss Institute, New York, USA
Fine Lines: Drawings from the Collection of Wynn Kramarsky, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, USA
2002
Forum: Mel Bochner Photographs, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, USA
Under Pressure: Prints from Two Palms Press, The University Gallery, Amherst, USA
Akira Ikeda Gallery, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2001
Akira Ikeda Gallery Nagoya, Japan (solo)
Art Express: Art minimal et conceptuel, état d’une collection, Musée d´art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland
Drawing is Another Kind of Language, The Contemporary Museum Honolulu, USA
Flashing into the Shadows: The Artists Film in America, 1966-76, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
2000
Afterimage: Drawing Through Process, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USA
Sonnabend Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
1999
American Academy Invitational Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York
1999
Centro de Arte Helio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo)
1998
The Serial Attitude, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, USA
More Pieces for the Puzzle: Recent Additions to the Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
The Drawing Center, New York, USA (solo)
1997
Gravity-Axis of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Osaka, Japan
Drawing is Another Kind of Language, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, USA
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
1996
Thinking Print: Books to Billboards, 1980-1995, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: 1945-1995, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1995
1965-1995: Reconsidering the Object of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
Yale University, New Haven, USA (solo)
1991
A View from the 60s: Selections from the Castelli and Sonnabend Collections, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, USA
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, USA (solo)
1989
The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA (solo)
1985
Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA (solo)

Public Collections

MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, UK
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main, Germamy
Museet for Samtidskunst / Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark
Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
The Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX, USA
Wexner Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
Musée d´Art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Centre Georges Pompidou - Musée national d’Art moderne, Paris, France
Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, France
FRAC - Picardie, Amiens, France
FRAC – Bretagne, Châteaugiron, France
FRAC - Bourgogne, Dijon, France
Tate, London, UK
Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, UK
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA
University Art Museum University at Albany, State University of New York, NY, USA
MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York, NY, USA
National Gallery of Art, Washington, WA, USA
Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
Ball State University Art Gallery, Muncie, IN, USA