The Collectors Collaborative is a group of Bowdoin graduates, parents, and friends who support the Museum by identifying and purchasing a work of contemporary art each year. With funds from fifty-eight gifts, the Collaborative has finalized its 2015 acquisition. It has purchased and given to the Museum Mel Bochner’s 1997 wood engraving titled 12 x 3 inches.
During a visit last spring to Two Palms Press, a leading fine art publisher in New York, members of the Collaborative reviewed works by several short-listed artists, including Chuck Close, Terry Winters, Chris Ofili, and Cecily Brown. After a vote by those who made a donation, the group decided to purchase this engraving by Bochner. One of the leading conceptual artists working today, he has broken new ground by investigating the role that language, measurements, and other standards play in governing perception. As art historian Johanna Burton argues, in probing the relationship between language and its material form, Bochner “ultimately reveals the strange discord between our mental grasp of a thing and our actual experience of it.” 12 x 3 inches—spatially divided by annotations of distance and bold elemental colors—exemplifies these interests.
Born in Pittsburgh, Bochner moved in 1964 to New York City, where he is currently based. He helped to organize the first Conceptual exhibition in 1966 and has taught at Yale University since 1979. While 12 x 3 inches is not the first work by Bochner in the Museum’s collection, it is the largest and most important to date.
We appreciate the generosity of everyone who supported this year’s acquisition. Special thanks to Vicky Lichtendorf ’97 and Chad MacDermid ’00, the co-chairs of the Collectors Collaborative. They bring great energy and vision to this organization. We look forward to announcing the group’s next outing shortly.
top image: “12 x 3 inches,” wood engraving by Mel Bochner
bottom image: Members of the Collectors’ Collaborative at Two Palm press in spring 2015.