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 New York, where he had 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 showing; 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 showing 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, while at other times they appeared more conceptual than artistic, with the painting appearing carefully planned and executed rather than impulsive. The artist’s work employed a variety of mediums, from oil on velvet to glass stones and chalk on the floor. Bochner’s works were widely exhibited throughout his career. In 1995, the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT, showed his work as a retrospective titled Mel Bochner: Thought Made Visible 1966-1973. 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 included the book Solar System & Rest Rooms: Writings and Interviews, 1965-2007 and Mel Bochner: Thought Made Visible 1966-1973. 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.