New York

Mel Bochner

Sonnabend Gallery

Mid-to-late 20th-century art practice is often described in terms of axiomatic polarities—visual versus conceptual; expressionism versus analytical investigation—polarities that are so thoroughly enmeshed in our esthetic consciousness that sometimes we uphold the boundaries upon which such distinctions are based as though they were law. While many have based their careers on synthesis, efforts to cross these boundaries remain difficult to negotiate; the proposition that painting be regarded as a conceptually based practice is a case in point. Of course, there are exceptions. On Kawara’s “date paintings” are so “tautologically correct” (read: wholly self-defined or self-referential), and Daniel Buren’s stripe paintings are so “institutionally correct” (read: simultaneously fulfilling and negating the prerequisites that delimit the category of objects designated as “painting”) that the

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