One day on the street, Smithson and I ran into Ad Reinhardt, whom we both respected immensely. At a certain point he said, “Some day every artist has to choose between Malevich and Duchamp.” Smithson and I just looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. The point being “Why choose?” What appeared to Reinhardt, who developed in the 1930s, as an enormous difference between Duchamp and Malevich, by the mid-1960s, did not seem like such a big difference.
Anyway, I didn’t feel that I had to make those kinds of choices then, and I don’t feel like I have to make them now.
From “Mel Bochner with Phong Bui,” The Brooklyn Rail (May 2006).
Mel Bochner, Portrait of Ad Reinhardt, 1966. Ink on graph paper, 10.25 × 3.75′′. Image courtesy the artist.
MEL BOCHNER is an artist who lives and works in New York.