“Mel Bochner: Photographs 1966–1969”

Harvard Art Museums

From grid to wrinkle, block to smear, in black-and-white and color: So might one characterize the photography of Mel Bochner, all of which was produced before his better-known work in Conceptual sculpture. The images are a surprise, not just in what they show about Bochner, or the transition out of Minimalism into Conceptualism, or even the relation of photography to Conceptualist practice, but in what they demonstrate about photography itself.

Curator Scott Rothkopf aimed to illustrate, first, how Bochner deployed the photograph not as a document after the fact of a fully formed Conceptualist practice but as a land of sketch toward it that was instrumental in its development; and second, that in the effort to arrive at a fully transparent, unmediated means of visualizing an artistic concept, he turned to photography and discovered the paradox of its physicality, its opacity. Both postulates

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