'No', 2010. oil on canvas

Have you ever been to a solo show where you are convinced there were multiple artists on display? That’s how I felt while visiting Fraenkel Gallery’s Mel Bochner: Photographs and Not Photographs 1966 – 2010, spanning Bochner’s work from 1966 to 2010, a potent time for conceptual and Post-Minimalist art in America. Each work tempted me to the next like a carrot on a stick with a continuation of the concepts that he wove throughout the gallery using photography and painting. Furthermore, quotes from Sartre, Proust, Duchamp and the Miriam-Webster Dictionary about photography, blocks, monuments, painting and a multitude of other topics illuminated his photos and paintings. Bochner’s show presents many ideas, but lacks a specific point which is successful in that it allows the viewer a great deal of room to ponder, explore and enjoy without feeling that an answer must be found.

'Photograph-Blocks (Four by Four), 1967/2009

Just when I felt I was getting a grip on his aesthetic and ideas I turned the corner to find a “Smudge” of blue chalk on the gallery wall, and around another corner were the words ‘Fuck Off‘ in brightly colored paint. By the end of the show Bochner’s quirky conceptual humor got the best of me as I left the gallery humorously pondering art as a whole.

'Smudge', 1968

'Blah, Blah, Blah', 2010