Mel Bochner

Mel Bochner is an American conceptual artist who was born in Pittsburgh in 1940. He received his BFA in 1962 and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 2005 from the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. He lives and works in New York City.


Bochner came of age during the second half of the 1960s, a moment of radical change both in society at large as well as in art. While painting slowly lost its preeminent position in modern art, language moved from talking about art to becoming part of art itself.


Bochner has consistently probed the conventions of both painting and of language, the way we construct and understand them, and the way they relate to one another to make us more attentive to the unspoken codes that underpin our engagement with the world. A recurring theme in Bochner’s work is the relationship between language and physical space or colour. This is famously demonstrated in his “Measurement” installations of the late 1960’s visualizing the exact dimensions of rooms and exhibition spaces, and thesaurus-inspired paintings of a single word and its synonyms. Mel Bochner’s works feature in collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Credit: Mel Bochner in 1966. © Mel Bochner