Mel Bochner (b. 1940, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American conceptual artist. Bochner received his BFA in 1962 and honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 2005 from the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.
Throughout his career, Bochner has questioned conventional art practices. After his studies at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he moved to New York City and, like many other artists from the 1970s such as Eva Hesse and Bruce Nauman, worked to create an individual statement through various modes of expression. His works range from installations and conceptual art, which he describes as rigorous intellectual works, to drawings, prints, and paintings that combine analytical and formal interests. Although labeled alternately as a Conceptual artist, Minimalist, Post-Minimalist, and even ‘Neo-Abstract Expressionist’ his works are always deeply theoretical and defy categorization. Although his manner of painting results in paint drips, smears, and layers that create a textured surface, Bochner insists on a rigorous drawing style which aims to display his thought process.
Bochner is one of the leading figures in the development of Conceptual Art. He has consistently probed the conventions of both painting and language, the way we construct and understand them, and how they serve as codes that underpin our engagement with the world and one another. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Art Institute of Chicago, and Yale University Art Gallery, among others. In 2002 Bochner’s work was installed in RxART’s inaugural project at Rockefeller University Hospital in New York. He lives and works in New York City.