Collection2 Special Feature: Mel Bochner

In the previous fiscal year, the museum acquired A Theory of Sculpture (Counting) & Primer (1969-73), an important work by the American conceptual artist Mel Bochner. In this edition of the collection exhibition, we consider conceptual art by presenting this new acquisition as well as a selection of works from the same period by Japanese artists.

Over his nearly 60-year career, Mel Bochner (b. 1940) has played a central role in conceptual art, creating work in a wide range of media, including sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, and photographs. A Theory of Sculpture (Counting) & Primer exemplifies Bochner’s overall sense of inquisitiveness, particularly as it relates to the fundamental concepts that lie at the heart of sculpture. Meanwhile, Bochner’s drawings have been lauded for his trademark approach of challenging rigid definitions of drawing while also consistently questioning what it means to draw.

In conjunction with Bochner’s works, we present works by a number of Japanese artists who were active during the same period, including Arakawa Shusaku, Kawara On, Takamatsu Jiro, Yoko Ono, Saito Takako, and Shiomi Mieko (aka Chieko).

Mel Bochner
Born in 1940 in Pittsburgh, Bochner is currently based in New York.

In his first exhibition, held at the School of Visual Arts Gallery in 1966, Bochner showed Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed as Art (1966, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art Collection), an artist book made up of Xerox copies. The exhibition is considered to be a seminal event in the history of conceptual art. Like other artists who emerged in the 1960s, such as Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse, and Robert Smithson, Bochner employed a rational system (based on numbers, calculations, definitions, etc.) in his early works as a means of pursuing the irrational and tentative nature of existence. During this period, Bochner also published numerous theoretical writings. In recent years, he has become known for a lush painting practice that explores the interrelationship between image and meaning in the visual expression of language.

February 4, 2023 – May 21, 2023
The National Museum of Art, Osaka
4-2-55 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0005
Opening Hours
10:00-17:00 (10:00-20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays).
*Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Mondays (except May 1)
Adults: 430 (220) yen
University students: 130 (70) yen

*( ) admission for groups of more than 20 people.
*Admission free for visitors under 18, those 65 and over, and visitors with disabilities and one attendant (proof required).
Night discount applicable after 17:00 on Fri. and Sat.
Adults: 250 yen, university students: 70 yen.
Free admission days: February 4, March 4, April 1, May 6, and May 18, 2023.

Organized by The National Museum of Art, Osaka
Sponsored by Daikin Foundation for Contemporary Arts

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