Mel Bochner

Mel Bochner

Works from Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography) and a few extras.

And transgenerational too. Before we were talking about misunderstandings, (and I was curious about this in relation to science and engineering) there can sometimes be productive misunderstandings, and this was just at the moment that you made the amazing work entitled Misunderstandings. Could you talk a little about these issues and this work?

When I realized in 1967, that my work had become about photography without wanting it to – I thought, I should do some research, look into the history of the medium and find out what’s been written about it, what the issues are. What I found was really pretty dumb – it had no value in any theoretical terms. And the more I read, the more I began to see it all as a colossal misunderstanding. So I started compiling a set of misunderstandings. After a while I had quite a large number of these quotations which I wanted to publish. The first title was “Dead Ends and Vicious Circles”…

That’s a beautiful title.

…I submitted it to¬†Artforum but Philip Leader said ‘we’re not a goddamn photography magazine, this is an art magazine, don’t give me anything on photography, we don’t do photography!’ Then I sent it toArt in America and they were not interested either, but suggested that I send it to a photography magazine! Like¬†Popular Photography! Well I knew that no photography magazine could possibly be interested in this, so I put it in a drawer and forgot about it. Then in 1970, Marian Goodman, who then had a gallery called Multiples Gallery, came up with the idea of doing a boxed multiple set of artists’ photographs. She made this box which was quite an amazing thing, it had Smithson, Graham, Ruscha, Dibbets, Rauschenberg, LeWitt, myself and a number of other artists. My contribution was a version ofDead Ends and Vicious Circles, a compilation of quotations I titled “Misunderstandings( A Theory of Photography).” And to further add to the confusion, three of the quotes were fakes, I made them up. The last card in the envelope is a reproduction of a negative of a Polaroid, but of course Polaroids don’t have negatives!”” – interview excerot with Hans Ulrich Obrist.

via horses think.

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