Special Exhibition Curated by Mel Bochner in Collaboration with Magazzino
Featuring works of art from American Conceptual artist Mel Bochner's own archives in dialogue with works by Alighiero Boetti and Lucio Fontana, this special exhibition at Magazzino offers visitors the opportunity to contemplate a number of formal, procedural, and conceptual “resonances” between the three artists’ work. Curated by Bochner in collaboration with Magazzino, the exhibition explores the use of systems, language, and materials, often with a sense of irony and humor, shared by Arte Povera and Conceptualism. Addressing parallel artistic developments in the 1960s and 1970s on either side of the Atlantic—between Spatialism and Arte Povera in Italy, and Process and Conceptual art in the U.S.—and trajectories also connected to avant-garde in South America, the exhibition is the first to examine Bochner’s relationship to both Fontana and Boetti, shedding light on the artist’s special connection to Italy.
One of the most celebrated figures in Conceptual art, Bochner was initially best received in Italy, where he has spent significant time across his career. Registering the artist’s long-term, yet understudied, engagement with Boetti and Fontana, and with Italian art, history, and culture, the exhibition includes a range of works by Bochner, among them: Meditation on the Theorem of Pythagoras (1977), one of the artist’s floor-based Fontana’s Lights sculptures, made with leftover Murano glass fragments from Fontana’s Milan studio; the somber Yizkor (For the Jews of Rome) (1993), composed of a U.S. Army blanket and extinguished matchsticks; and a bilingual wall painting, Language Is Not Transparent (English/Italian) (1969/2019). The exhibition, which includes major loans from Olnick Spanu as well as other international collections, marks the first occasion an American artist’s work has been exhibited in Magazzino’s galleries.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog, featuring contributions from Magazzino’s 2019-20 Scholar-in-Residence Tenley Bick and Bochner. Magazzino will host Bochner in conversation with Bick on October 17, 2020. Additional details will be announced later.
For this conversation, organized by Magazzino Italian Art, American Conceptual artist Mel Bochner discusses his work from the 1960s to the present, with a focus on his long-term, but understudied, interest in the work of postwar art in Italy with Magazzino’s 2019–20 Scholar-in-Residence Tenley Bick.