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.