Bochner Boetti Fontana publication cover

Bochner Boetti Fontana

An exploration into the works of artists Bochner, Boetti, and Fontana, tracing the parallels between the artistic movements that developed on both sides of the Atlantic.

This book was published by Magazzino Italian Art Foundation on the occasion of the exhibition Bochner Boetti Fontana curated by Mel Bochner in collaboration with Magazzino Italian Art at Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, New York, October 2, 2020 – April 5, 2021.

Library of Congress Control Number 

© 2021 Magazzino Italian Art Foundation

About the Artists

Mel Bochner is recognized as one of the leading figures in the development of Conceptual Art in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Emerging at a time when painting was increasingly discussed as outmoded, Bochner became part of a new generation of artists, which also included Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, and Robert Smithson— artists who, like Bochner, were looking at ways of breaking with Abstract Expressionism and traditional compositional devices. His pioneering introduction of the use of language in the visual led Harvard University art historian Benjamin Buchloh to describe his 1966 Working Drawings as “probably the first truly conceptual exhibition.”

Bochner came of age during the second half of the 1960s, a moment of radical change both in society at large, as well as in art. While painting slowly lost its preeminent position in modern art, language moved from talking about art to becoming part of art itself. Bochner has consistently probed the conventions of both painting and of language, the way we construct and understand them, and the way they relate to one another to make us more attentive to the unspoken codes that underpin our engagement with the world. 

Bochner’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at major national and international institutions, including the Jewish Museum, New York (2014); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2013); National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2011); Art Institute of Chicago (2006); Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2003); and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven (1995), among many others.

Bochner received his BFA and an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He lives and works in New York.

Alighiero Boetti began his decades-long practice in Turin with his solo exhibition debut in 1967 at the Galleria Christian Stein. Working as Alighiero e Boetti (Alighiero and Boetti) since 1971, Boetti explored dual authorship, game play, systems, and language in his practice. Using a variety of materials and techniques, including ballpoint pens, flags, postal stamps, and textiles, Boetti broke from power structures and conventional artistic methods, employing modes of production that existed outside the formal fine arts. Boetti had a deep interest in authorship and artistic production.

In 1972, Boetti moved to Rome, where he continued to live and work until his death in 1994, though he often traveled. His travels had a significant impact on his work, resulting in the Mappa series of the 1970s and his longstanding collaborations with women in Afghanistan and Pakistan on his embroidered works. The collaboration led to the creation of the artist’s most famous series, which he would develop throughout all his life, such as MappeArazzi, and Tutto. These works, like other major series, developed since the 1970s (such as Biros, the works made with ballpoint pen), and were all based on binary oppositions of concepts of order and disorder, individual and society, rules and variations, and nature and artifice. 

A major retrospective dedicated to his work, Game Plan, was held in 2011 and 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the Reina Sofia in Madrid. In addition to his inclusion in major Italian institutions, his works are in the collections of major institutions around the world, including the Whitechapel Gallery, London (1999); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (1997); Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome (1996); La Biennale di Venezia (1995); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1994); Kunsthalle Basel (1978); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (1977); and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1989).

Lucio Fontana is a sculptor, painter, and theorist internationally renowned as one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century. Fontana’s rupture of the surface of painting has had a widespread impact on generations of artists in exploring the dynamics of how painting can incorporate space and the real, physical elements of life. 

Born into an Italian family in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, Fontana began his artistic career as a sculptor, experimenting with ‘abstract’ sculptures during the 1930s, becoming one of the key figures of the non-figurative avant-garde in Europe as he split his time between Italy and Argentina. During the 1940s, Fontana founded the Academia Altamira in Argentina, which led to the creation of the Manifiesto Blanco in 1946. Following the war in 1947, Fontana returned to Italy permanently and subsequently formed Spatialism, a movement that focuses on the physical and spatial qualities of sculpture and painting with a particular interest in the way light, space, and movement can create art. Fontana also punctured the canvas with buchi (holes), titled them Concetti spaziali, and cut slashes into his monochrome-painted canvas, which led the artist to create the Concetti spaziali, Attesa or Attese

Fontana was recognized for his work at the Venice Biennale in 1966, where he won the Grand Prize for painting. His work has been included in a number of noteworthy solo shows, including at the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (2019–2020); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2014); Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome (2008); The State Museum, Saint Petersburg (2006); Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2006); Hayward Gallery, London (1999–2000); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (1996–1997); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1987); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1977); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1967); and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1966).

About the Contributors

Vittorio Calabrese is the Director of Magazzino Italian Art Foundation. He leads all museum programming, exhibitions, and research and is responsible for broadening institutional development, fostering collaborations with fellow institutions and international artists. Vittorio has extensive experience in arts administration within the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and research initiatives. He has curated and edited numerous exhibition catalogues on Italian Contemporary Art. 

Born in Irpinia, Italy, Vittorio studied at Columbia University (Master in Business Administration), Christie’s Education in New York (MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History), and Bocconi University in Milan (BA and MSc in Business Administration and Management). 

Vittorio gives frequent lectures and presentations and has curated a number of exhibitions including: Homemade, Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, New York, 2020; Renato Leotta, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York and Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, New York, 2019; Fausto Melotti: Works from the Olnick Spanu Collection, Consulate General of Italy, New York, 2019; Alessandro Piangiamore: Marango, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York, 2018; Bagnoli, Bianchi, Salvadori, The Garrison Art Center, New York, 2018; Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, Alice Curtis Desmond & Hamilton Fish Library, New York, 2018; Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, Italian Cultural Institute, New York, 2017; Marco Bagnoli, Domenico Bianchi, Remo Salvadori: From the Olnick Spanu Collection, Hillyer Art Space, Washington D.C., 2017; Ornaghi & Prestinari, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York, 2016.

Bruno Corà is a critic and art historian. He is currently President of the Palazzo Albizzini Foundation’s Burri Collection. He was a docent at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Perugia (1979–1999); University of Cassino (1999–2005); and University of Florence (2005–2008) as well as an academic of honor at Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci (Perugia, 1981) and Professor Emeritus at the Athens School of Fine Arts (2013). Corà was the director of Museo Pecci in Prato (1995–2002); Palazzo Fabroni in Pistoia (1993–2001); CAMeC in Spezia (2003–2007); and Lugano Museum of Art and Cultural Center (2008–2010). He was the curator of the Gubbio Biennale (1996–67, 2016), the Biennale of Carrara (2006), the Biennale of Spezia (2002, 2004, and 2006), and the Italian Commissioner of the Dakar Biennale (2002). 

Corà has been a member of numerous public scientific committees, including the technical scientific committee of FRAC Rhône-Alpe, France (for three years starting in 1986). He was a member of the scientific committee of the Burri Archive (City of Castello), Uncini (Trevi), Kounellis (Rome), Calzolari (Fossombrone), Bertrand (Paris), Agnetti (Milan), and Isgrò (Milan). Corà was the director of CAMUSAC – Cassino Museum of Contemporary Art since its foundation. He was the founder and director of magazines AEIUO (1980–1988) and MOZART (2012–2016) as well as an author of numerous publications about major contemporary international artists. He curated numerous scientific-artistic conferences and has traveled and curated exhibitions in numerous cities in the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Europe, China, and other countries.

Since 1992, Laura Cherubini has been a professor of Art History at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. She has also been a collaborator for Flash Art Italy and International. From 2011 to 2017, Cherubini was the Vice President of the MADRE Museum in Naples and from March 2019 until August 2020 the director of the MACTE Museum. She curated the Italian Pavilion at the 1990 Venice Biennale and numerous exhibitions at Italian and international institutions such as Villa Arson, Nice; Fondazione Merz, Turin; MoMA PS1, New York; Toruń Museum, Toruń; Vasarely Museum, Budapest; Alex Milona Museum, Thessaloniki and Athens; MAXXI, Rome; MACRO, Rome; GNAM, Rome; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; Desarrollo des Artes, Cuba; GAM, Turin. 

She has published monographs on artists such as Gino De Dominicis, Ettore Spalletti, Grazia Toderi, Massimo Bartolini, Vettor Pisani, Alighiero Boetti, Fabio Mauri, and Paola Pivi. She also belongs to the Boetti, Schifano, Angeli, Mauri, and Pisani archives and is the artistic director at the Catalano Archive. Cherubini directs the "The keys of art,” series of Marinotti publishers. She received the Luigi Carluccio Awards for young critics (1990) and Arte Sostantivo Donna (2017).

Tenley Bick, PhD is Assistant Professor of Global Contemporary Art in the Department of Art History at Florida State University and was the 2019–2020 Scholar in Residence at Magazzino Italian Art. Her research addresses postwar through contemporary Italian art in a global context, contemporary African art, and the history of Italian colonialism. Her writings have been published in a range of scholarly journals, with recent publications in Third Text (2019) and in the edited volume Global Revolutionary Aesthetics and Politics after Paris ’68 (eds. M. Munro, W.J. Cloonan, B.J. Faulk, and C.P. Weber; Lantham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021), with her chapter “Ghosts for the Present: Countercultural Aesthetics and Postcoloniality for Contemporary Italy. The Work of Wu Ming 2 and Fare Ala.” Her translation work (Italian to English) has also been published, appearing in the catalogue for the internationally traveling exhibition, Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 (eds. M. Kwon and P. Kaiser, organized for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art). 

She is the founder and curator of the digital project COSTELLAZIONE,, a bilingual (IT/ENG) online series of live conversations on contemporary Italian art and activism. She holds an MA and PhD in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Born in 1944, Geoffrey Young grew up in San Diego. After a Fulbright year in Paris, he worked at Galerie Sonnabend for a spell. In 1982 he moved from Berkeley to Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Over a thirty year period, his small press, The Figures, published more than 135 books of poetry, art writing, and fiction. 

Recent books of poetry & drawing include PIVOT (2020), and ASIDES (2020). The trilogy: Alibi (2019), Sauce (2018), and Sight Unseen (2018) exist in small editions. His prose book, DATES (2021), chronicles random encounters with famous people.

For twenty-seven years he directed the Geoffrey Young Gallery, which closed Christmas 2018. Over the years Young has written catalogue essays for more than a dozen artists.



Regarding Mel Bochner’s Artistic, Critical and Theoretical Viewpoint, Bruno Corà


Bochner’s Italian Picture, Tenley Bick, Ph.D.



  • Bruno Corà
  • Laura Cherubini
  • Mel Bochner
  • Tenley Bick


  • Geoffrey Young
  • Nancy Olnick & Giorgio Spanu
  • Vittorio Calabrese

Editing, Editorial and Production Management

  • Karolina Chojnowska


  • Alexa Hoyer
  • Courtesy Fondazione Lucio Fontana
  • Courtesy Mel Bochner
  • Marco Anelli
  • Montse Zamorano


  • Softcover


  • Art - Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions


  • Magazzino Italian Art Foundation


  • Waterhouse Cifuentes Design

Trim Size

  • 8.5 x 5.6 (21.6 x 14.2 cm)


  • 160

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