Photographs and Not Photographs.
Photographs by Mel Bochner.
Fraenkel Gallery, 2010. 80 pp., Illustrated throughout, 9½x10¾".
A hugely influential presence in postwar American art, Mel Bochner (born 1940) coined some of Postminimalist and Conceptual art’s most characteristic strategies—the gallery as subject, language as material, the photo documentation of works as the work itself, the appropriation of ephemeral materials by other artists—and directed those strategies towards a radical excavation of all that had been rendered peripheral to art’s proper content. In the mid- to late 1960s, Bochner became deeply involved with photography, producing a groundbreaking group of photographs that hover tantalizingly between painting and photography. Mel Bochner: Photographs and Not Photographs presents superb reproductions of these early works, as well as the artist’s classic 1970 essay “Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography)” and a selection of wall drawings and paintings, culminating in “NO,” painted in 2010. Also included is an essay by Jeffrey Weiss, curator of the Panza collection at the Guggenheim Museum of Art, which traces the evolution of Bochner’s work from the 1960s to the present. Bochner has collaborated closely on the design of this beautifully produced volume, the cover of which is made of sturdy plexiglas.