Mel Bochner Strong Language
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by Norman L. Kleeblatt
with a text by Mel Bochner
Mel Bochner (b. 1940) is celebrated as a key Conceptual artist of the 1960s. Less well-known are his paintings made after that period: complex works based on an exploration of language, often crowded with typography in lush, contrasting hues that both embrace and challenge the painterly tradition.
Mel Bochner: Strong Language focuses on this important body of work, in which Bochner investigates the lines between text and image. Ranging from bold admonishments and witty emoticons to provocative floods of words, these works demonstrate conceptual seriousness, as well as delight in the playful potential of language.
Norman L. Kleeblatt discusses the evolution of Bochner's art from his early word experiments through his return to painting, while Bochner offers a personal perspective. Both Kleeblatt and Bochner address the question of Jewishness in Bochner's work, particularly the ways in which the Jewish intellectual tradition embraces language as a visual expressive form.