Saturday, February 25, 2012

In the Tower: Mel Bochner

Where: National Gallery of Art, East Building

When: through April 29, 2012

On the same day that I saw the library exhibit (described above), I also trekked up to the East Building's Tower to see their current show.  I think I've mentioned before that the Tower rooms are really a Hirshhorn in miniature - very modern art, which fills me with a desire to roll my eyes.

The current offering is Mel Bochner, and I must admit, it was less ridiculous than many things I've seen in this space.  The large room is filled with works similar to the one pictured:  canvases with words painted on them.  Each has a theme, and as the words proceed down the page, the language becomes less erudite and more slang.   I really like the bright colors, and it's fun to think of other words Bochner might have included.  One of the paintings is entitled DIE and one of the phrases is "go home feet first."  I've never heard this expression, but I plan to incorporate it into my vocabulary.

The Gallery commentary on the exhibit alerts us to the fact that, because Bochner is painting words, the paintings require us to read and see at the same time.  Surely, one cannot read without seeing?  I think I understand what they mean, but one cannot help but frown at this awkward wording.

Verdict: One of the few shows I've seen in the Tower that's worth the journey.

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