Mel Bochner
Continuous/Dis/Continuous
1971-72
Pencil, red and black felt-tipped pen, and blue carpenter's chalk on torn masking tape and wall
Approx. 2 inches (5.1 cm) high, length variable
The Museum of Modern Art, Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, 1997

Continuous/Dis/Continuous is a viewing and reading experience that foregrounds the intellectual properties of art making and the reception of the work. It is also a temporal journey that unfolds as you walk through it. Continuous/Dis/Continuous is re-created each time it is shown. Bochner attaches a line of masking tape around the gallery walls and rubs blue chalk over its length, creating a halo at its edges. He writes sequential black numbers clockwise along it. Removing random lengths of tape, he adds red numbers in sequence counterclockwise. The red numbers jump over the black, filling the gaps where tape was removed. He is asking you to decide which numbers are continuous and which discontinuous, whether the work forms a coherent whole or is too disjunctive for that, and whether two discontinuities can be held in the mind at once. Continuous/Dis/Continuous is paradoxical, the assertion of an order that simultaneously undermines and reaffirms itself.