PRINT April 1986


UNTIL 1973, MEL BOCHNER’S art progressed in an evolution from a preoccupation with numbers, words, and photo fragments, in the work from 1966–1968, through an attempt to literalize space in works involving measuring and counting, in 1968–71, to a series of diagrammatic floor arrangements of small objects such as pennies, pebbles, or acorns. in 1972–73. His approach bore a resemblance to the a priori method, cognitive intention, and logical precision of the “early” Ludwig Wittgenstein; it distinguished itself by its attempt at reconciling the perceptual and the cognitive constituents of art. With The Axiom of Indifference,1 a sculpture installation at the Sonnabend Gallery New York, in January of 1973, Bochner concluded this “analytic period” for while the work summarized his epistemological concern with the question of how seeing relates to thinking, the diagram he drew for it prefigured

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