Bochner Chapter 8

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S.R. One last anecdote I was writing in a bigger book about the concept of »fake« where I try to see something from a different perspective on modes of reproduction. The interesting thing was that the important protagonists of appropriation art didn't hear anything about Sturtevant // M.B. Yes, for example... // S.R. Elaine Sturtevant was working in the second part of the 60s and Andrea Frazer told me, that she first time saw her name and understood what she did in the 60s, in '84, '85 in Europe. And Louise Lawler told me she did not know anything about Sturtevant until the 70s. This are sometimes really interesting modes of communication and there is something very near to the scene, and the scene is suddenly growing and getting more and more important but some parts of the knowledge of the scene is not coming to the point that other people have the possibility to understand that or to see it ...

M.B. Yes, and whose responsibility is that? I'm not sure. I was mentioning that piece that Smithson and I did before »The Domain of the Great Bear«; most of the texts were just taken from the planetarium's own literature, we just cut them up and collaged them together. I did a piece in 68 on the Beach Boys published in Art Magazine; I didn't write one word about them; I just took their press releases // M.B.(laughs) // and I cut up their press releases and what was written in the fan magazines about them; I made it into a collage and sent it to the magazine and they typed it up and put it in the magazine // M.B.(laughs) // That's an appropriation. But to me, what was interesting about it and the surprise of it was the camouflage, the fact that it was hidden, that it wasn't known. People would come up to me [...] and say: why are you writing about the Beach Boys? What's that about? Why is that in an art magazine? People got angry. Why should an art magazine have an article about the Beach Boys? My point was: it sounds like an art article, doesn't it? Because it was the exact same language; the language of the press release is the same as the language of most art criticism. There it was, just sitting there, make of it what you will. It's not my responsibility to explain it. And that's why there, for me at least, within that context, there wasn't any theoretical writing that was giving me any idea to do this. None of whatever existed had been written as yet (...). It was still yet Foucault, and all was still yet to come and certainly hadn't been translated by that point (0:58:45:10)

S.R. So do you think that sth. like that was in the air (??)?

M.B. That's sth. that people say [...], ideas are in the air and I don't know [...] where these ideas are that are supposedly in the air and I think it's a way of deflecting what I call, what one might call the vanishing points. You take certain ideas that are in the culture, and in terms of let's say a way of looking at things you try to track these ideas back to a vanishing point – we won't use the word originality - but to a place where you can't seem to go back any further. Now you can say, well, it was in the air, but if this is the person where it tracks back to then it's that person's idea. (...) I think there are certain ways that these ideas track back to certain moments in the 60s, and there is no way around it. When you become engaged in these ideas and when you become engaged in trying to understand their sources, yes, a lot of the sources still remain hidden; I think that period is still an iceberg with nine tenths below the water, and only one tenth above the water. Okay? (smiles)

S.R. That was a nice last word. I like that. Thank you very much.

M.B. You're welcome.

« Mel Bochner