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Peter Freeman, Inc. is pleased to present Voices, Mel Bochner’s first solo show in New York since his major retrospective at The Jewish Museum in 2014.

Who is speaking? To whom? In his new work Bochner assumes various voices from the super-serious to the absurd. A strong vein of irony and humor flows through them. As poet Jeremy Sigler writes in the catalog:

“… I would argue these paintings un-bracket painting’s prematurely celebrated death as they simultaneously put brackets around Mel Bochner. They do this by manifesting a character, a protagonist, who may or may not be Bochner… a cantankerous maverick who paints lines like ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’ In such lines, one can sense Bochner’s sly subversion, his exciting and menacing wit, his willingness to bite the hand that feeds him.”

Words and phrases are scattered across the whole surface. They are often painted over each other, in many cases obliterating themselves in a palimpsest of illegibility. Some paintings simply repeat a single word, like “gobbledygook,” over and over again, rendering the text itself gobbledygook. “Bochner’s runny paint literally drools, oozing letters of cold, harsh, impersonal sentiment” (Sigler). In the torrent of paint, any belief in language as communication is washed away.

Mel Bochner was born in Pittsburgh in 1940, and earned a BFA in 1962 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. His work is represented in many public collections around the world, including Tate Modern (London), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). Recent solo museum exhibitions include The Jewish Museum (New York, 2014), Museù Serralves (Porto, 2013), Haus der Kunst in Munich (Munich, 2012), National Gallery of Art (Washington, 2011), Art Institute of Chicago (2006), MAMCO (Geneva, 2003).

A reception for the artist will be held Wednesday, 19 April from 6 to 8 pm. The exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase through Yale University Press beginning in June 2017, or through the gallery during the run of this exhibition.

For reproduction requests, interviews with the artist and general inquiries, please contact the gallery at 212-966-5154 or