Art In America

Mel Bochner

at Jewish Museum,
1109 Fifth Ave.

Mel Bochner has a penchant for word games. For the past decade or so he has been making paintings that resemble brightly colored thesaurus entries. Lists of synonyms ("Amazing! Awesome! Breathtaking! . . .") are rendered in block letters against vibrant backgrounds. Though most of the work on view here dates from the last two decades, a through line is established to Bochner's Conceptual work of the 1960s, in part through the re-creation of a 1970 work for which he scrawled the phrase "Language is Not Transparent" in a field of drippy black paint applied directly to the gallery wall. Bochner's paintings are cerebral—students of Wittgenstein would have a field day—but the artist seems equally concerned with creating richly textured surfaces and complex color combinations that span nearly the entire visible spectrum. The act of viewing encompasses both reading and looking, as the painterly qualities of Bochner's work suggest a sensual ground for thought.

 

 

More from the Lookout

Piotr Uklanski

at Metropolitan Museum of Art,
through Aug. 16
1000 Fifth Avenue

Alexander Calder

at Dominique Lévy,
through Jun. 13
909 Madison Avenue

Erin Shirreff

at Sikkema Jenkins,
through May 22
530 West 22nd Street

Jeremy Couillard

at Louis B. James,
through May 20
143b Orchard Street

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian

at Callicoon Fine Arts,
through May 24
49 Delancey Street

Closing

Willem de Rooij

at Petzel,
through May 2
456 West 18th Street

“Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection”

at Japan Society,
through Jun. 7
333 East 47th Street

Closing

Jamie Isenstein

at Andrew Kreps,
through May 2
537 West 22nd Street

Alma Thomas

at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery,
through May 16
100 Eleventh Avenue

Lutz Bacher

at Greene Naftali,
through May 9
508 West 26th Street, ground floor and 8th floor

Caleb Considine

at Bureau,
through May 3
178 Norfolk Street

“Masterpieces and Curiosities: Nicole Eisenman’s Seder”

at Jewish Museum,
through Aug. 9
1109 Fifth Avenue

“Work Hard: Selections by Valentin Carron”

at Swiss Institute,
through May 24
18 Wooster Street

“Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship”

at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art,
through May 3
26 Wooster Street

New Museum Triennial

at New Museum,
through May 24
235 Bowery

Submit your e-mail to receive insider information from the art world every week.