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Minor Canon

Mel Bochner No Thought Exists tee

Regular price $26.00 USD
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Mel Bochner (b. 1970) is an American conceptual artist (and sometimes writer and critic), perhaps best known for his 1966 show at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, "Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art", which is regarded as a seminal show in the conceptual art movement. Bochner photocopied his friends' working drawings, including a $3,051.16 fabricator's bill from Donald Judd. He collected the copies in four black binders and displayed them on four pedestals. The show was remade at the Drawing Center, New York, in 1998.

This t-shirt reproduces an often-quoted observation of Bochner's, originally recorded on a notecard, that "no thought exists without a sustaining support." Despite being regularly identified as a conceptual artist, Bochner was often included in exhibitions and anthologies of the movement as a kind of dissenting voice asserting the continued existence and/or significance of art's material elements. As the back of this shirt also asserts (with a phrase drawn from the same notecard), "language is not transparent."

The idea that an idea or a concept could be so rarefied, so dematerialized, that it would be liberated from the messiness of the world of real things, Bochner suggests, is ultimately a fantasy. What his phrase asks us to attend to is precisely the "sustaining supports" of art and communication: what and who makes them possible? What kind of support does a practice require? How can a message "get across"? Rather than a rearguard argument for the importance of material craft, Bochner's statement raises political questions: what do artists (or "thinkers," or anybody) need, and where does that support come from?

• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton (Heather colors contain polyester)
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz/yd² (142 g/m²)
• Pre-shrunk fabric
• Side-seamed construction
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
• Blank product sourced from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Honduras, or the US


Size guide

XS (inches) 27 16 ½ 31-34
S (inches) 28 18 34-37
M (inches) 29 20 38-41
L (inches) 30 22 42-45
XL (inches) 31 24 46-49
2XL (inches) 32 26 50-53
3XL (inches) 33 28 54-57


XS (cm) 68.6 42 78.7-86.4
S (cm) 71.1 45.7 86.4-94
M (cm) 73.7 50.8 96.5-104.1
L (cm) 76.2 55.9 106.7-114.3
XL (cm) 78.7 61 116.8-124.5
2XL (cm) 81.3 66 127-134.6
3XL (cm) 83.8 71.1 137.2-144.8