Mel Bochner: The Joys of Yiddish

Currently installed on the façade of Haus der Kunst is Mel Bochner's long-term public sculpture "The Joys of Yiddish" – a monumental work that the artist redeveloped for this venue on the occasion of his exhibition "If the Color Changes". A word chain in bright yellow letters on a black background contains Yiddish slang words that have found their way into contemporary American English. The colors are reminiscent of the armbands and patches the National Socialists used to stigmatize the Jewish population. An inherent tension exists between their visual impact and the words Jewish ghetto residents used to express unity and defiance during the Third Reich. This connection between the perpetrators' color and the victims' language is typical of the subtle provocation that runs through Bochner's work. 

KIBBITZER, a wise guy                
KVETCHER, a chronic complainer        
NUDNICK, a pain                 
NEBBISH, a sad sack              
NUDZH, a pesterer               
MESHUGENER, a crackpot          
ALTER KOCKER, a crotchety old man  
PISHER, an immature brat          
PLOSHER, a blowhard          
PLATKE-MACHER, a troublemaker

Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, installation view, Haus der Kunst, 2013, photo Wilfried Petzi
Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, installation view, Haus der Kunst, 2013, photo Wilfried Petzi
Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, installation view, Haus der Kunst, 2013, photo Wilfried Petzi
Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, installation view, Haus der Kunst, 2013, photo Wilfried Petzi

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