Mel Bochner, Blah, Blah, Blah, 2017
|Artist:||Mel Bochner (1940 - )|
|Title:||Blah, Blah, Blah, 2017|
|Medium:||Monoprint in oil paint with collage, engraving and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper|
|Image Size:||28 1/4 in x 22 in (71.8 cm x 55.9 cm)|
|Sheet Size:||28 1/4 in x 22 in (71.8 cm x 55.9 cm)|
|Edition:||A unique and original monoprint in oil paint|
|Signature:||This work is hand signed and dated by Mel Bochner (Pittsburgh, 1940 - ) in pencil in the lower right.|
|Condition:||This work is in excellent condition.|
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Historical Description of this artwork
Mel Bochner Blah, Blah, Blah, 2017 is a quintessential offering from American conceptualist, Mel Bochner, balancing and the artificial and organic nature of art and language. The striking piece features one of the artist’s most studied terms which appear prominently throughout his oeuvre. Bochner repeats the nonsense word “BLAH” in four quadrants, aligned in horizontal stripes across the rectangular composition. The hand dyed and handmade paper sets a beautiful backdrop for the bold and bubbly typography. The straight edges of the stripes and the mechanical looking quality of the lettering juxtaposes with the painterly spontaneity present in this artwork. The letters are embossed from the reverse, adding height to the forms which stand out in slick and viscous oil paints.
The definition of this informal word changes in context; it can mean something which is boring or without meaning, or it can be used to substitute for actual words in contexts where they are felt to be too tedious or lengthy to give in full, as defined in the Oxford Dictionaries. By inserting this particular language into the context of fine art, Bochner challenges and examines our use of the word. His art begs the viewer to question: how does each color in this artwork inform our meaning? Alternatively, how can such a word inform our understanding of art?
Created in 2017, this monoprint in oil paint with collage, engraving and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper is hand-signed and dated by Mel Bochner (Pittsburgh, 1940 – ) in pencil in the lower right. Mel Bochner Blah, Blah, Blah, 2017 is a unique and original work.
Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
1. Bochner, Mel. Monoprints: Mel Bochner: Words, Words, Words…New York: Two Palms, 2012. General information on Mel Bochner’s unique monoprints is discussed on pages 63-65.
2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this artwork.
About the Framing:
Framed to museum-grade, conservation standards, Mel Bochner Blah, Blah, Blah, 2017 is presented in a complementary moulding.
What Do I Get With My Purchase?
The Certificate of Authenticity accompanies this work, guaranteeing its authenticity for as long as you own it.
All catalogue raisonné and historical documentation is included with your purchase.
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|Style:||Conceptual Art, Installation Art|
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Mel Bochner Biography
Born in 1950 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mel Bochner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home. His father was a sign painter who he occasionally worked for. In 1962, Mel Bochner graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a BFA. From there he went on to briefly study philosophy at Northwestern University in Chicago before taking the plunge and moving to New York in 1964. His first job in the city was as a museum guard at the Jewish Museum. In 1966 he was approached by art critic Dore Ashton at the museum, and told that he should apple for a job teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City – Mel Bochner received an offer and became a teacher there.
His first show was Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art in 1966 the School of Visual Arts. The show consisted of Xeroxed copies of his friends’ works placed in four black binders individually placed on four white pedestals. The impetus for such a layout partially came from the fact that there was not enough money to frame and display all of the original drawings that Mel Bochner had collected. Luckily, he was adept at thinking on his feet as well as being familiar with using photographs in his artistic process. This exhibition has become known as an important show in the Conceptual Art movement.
Mel Bochner felt stuck in abstract expressionism after graduating college, though he desperately longed to move away from the artistic movement. Finally he found a niche for himself when he began to explore the usage of words in fine art, and the intersection between painting and language. He started to see ideas as more important to a piece of art than the formal techniques that created it. Thus began his so-called Thesaurus paintings. These paintings and prints consist of synonyms displayed together. He found that introducing language to the visual aspect of art meant that many interesting and novel questions were asked and explored. Such questions as: who is the audience and who is the speaker of the words.
Mel Bochner started working on monotypes in 1994. He was originally drawn to the medium because of the embossing possibilities that it provides.Mel Bochner also talks about how he likes the unpredictability of the end product in contrast with the quite careful and scientific way that his plates are cut. Firstly, Mel Bochner is working within the confines of the page and the line. There are only so many characters that can fit on a given line, and this is the baseline constraint when setting up his synonyms. Once this is tackled, rearranging begins based on the feel and look of the words next to one another. Generally there is a directionality to the words, becoming more intense or vulgar in tone as they proceed across and down the page. Finally, once the Plexiglas stencil has been cut, Mel Bochner lays it over the pre-dyed paper to discuss coloring. At times Mel Bochner chooses to use color to affirm the words, and at other times he chooses deliberately to ignore color systems and paints with no discernable pattern. To achieve total randomization, Mel Bochner will ask his assistants to pick colors. Instead of letting go of the reins of the artistic process, Mel Bochner sees this as a way of opening himself up to new possibilities and ways of looking at his art – always a valuable skill.