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PRINT February 2009

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Mel Bochner’s collected writings

IN HIS PREFACE to this volume, Mel Bochner describes a turning point in his approach to writing. Learning that the short exhibition reviews he had been producing for Arts Magazine in 1965 were actually being read by the artists he reviewed, he further found himself being assailed for failing to comprehend the art. Bochner concluded that, in his own writing, “it was impossible not to be misunderstood.” This realization, he explains, was liberating. Abandoning writing criticism per se (his own included seminal theoretical essays about Minimal art), he began “testing the boundary between writing-as-criticism and writing-as-visual-art.”

These observations help us frame Bochner’s collected writings, for in his career, language (writing, language as system, and, in his recent work, language as utterance) is a chief medium. Further, it is no exaggeration to say that the entirety of this artist’s

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