Mel Bochner

  • Mel Bochner

  • Mel Bochner - Hors les Murs

    The Joys of Yiddish, 2017

    Inkjet on banner
    83 x 1102 inches
    Simon Lee, London, Hong Kong, New York
    Mel Bochner was born in 1940 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He Lives and works in New York. Throughout his career Bochner has explored the intersection of linguistic and visual representation. With its focus on text and interpretation, his work uses language as both a form of pictorial expression and philosophical speculation. The bright yellow uppercase characters of The Joys of Yiddish spell out well-known Yiddish terms against a black background, making reference to the identifying stars Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis. The installation belongs to a powerful body of work inaugurated in 2006 that centres around words and phrases found in Leo Rosten’s 1968 compendium of the same name. Growing up in an observant household in which Yiddish was regularly spoken, Bochner developed an interest in the assimilation of the language into the American English vernacular. Through Jewish comedians of the 1950s Yiddish became a familiar part of the American discourse. Yet the light-hearted resonance so often associated with the Yiddish language masks a deeper and darker cultural significance that speaks of the survival of a persecuted people.

    Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, © Mel Bochner

    KIBBITZER: Wise guy
    KVETCHER: Chronic complainer
    NUDNICK: Nag
    NEBBISH: Sad Sack
    NUDZH: Pesterer
    MESHUGENER: Crazy Person
    ALTER KOCKER: Cranky Old Man
    SCHMOOZER: Gossip
    PISHER: Someone who pees in his pants
    PLOSHER: Blowhard
    PLATKE-MACHER: Troublemaker
  • OUTDOOR PROJECTS 2017

We use cookies to enable this website to function, to make it more user friendly and to offer you products and services tailored to your interests. Please note that by using this site you are agreeing to the use of cookies.For further information about cookies and how to manage them, click here.