Ashley Bickerton portrait - Image via liveripcurlcom

Ashley Bickerton

United States 1959

Sculpture, Painting, Assemblage Art

Ashley Bickerton
Ashley Bickerton
United States
August 1, 2016

As the avid opponent of the commodification of the culture and Neo-expressionist movement, Ashley Bickerton made a quite sensation with his group Fantastic four, or the Neo-Geo as the critics called them, by showing their anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist works at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York in 1986. Along with Jeff Koons, Peter Halley and Meyer Vaisman he adopted influences from the Pop Art and Minimalism, in addition to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, accepting geometry as a metaphor for society. Soon got tired of the superficial life of the New York art circles and its disdain and hypocrisy, Bickerton decided to move to Bali where he lived in isolation, painting 18-hours a day.

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Ashley Bickerton – White Head I, 2012 (Left) / White Head II, 2012 (Right)

Anti-consumerism of Neo-Geo Movement

Bickerton was born in The West Indies in 1959, but his family often changed their residencies, due to his father’s career in languages and linguistics. He finished his studies in the United States at the California Institute of the Arts and built and enviable career during the 80’s, exhibiting his work on a global scale. As a part of the Neo-Geo movement (the short for Neo-Geometric Conceptualism), along with his peers, this American artist introduced a new kind of geometric painting deprived of the non-objective abstraction of the 20th-cetury, implemented with different materials such as microchips and battery cells instead. Still, despite their anti-consumerism ideas, the practice of the loose labels has been criticized as a marketing ploy. In one point of view, this movement is best reflective in Halley’s work and Bickerton’s contribution was characterized by his paintings of brand logos that seemed mass-produced. Covered in different signs, codes, and logos, his early works were typical Assemblages made of industrial materials and screen printed images.

His early works were typical Assemblages made of industrial materials

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Ashley Bickerton – Le Art (Composition with Logos) #2, 1987

Critic of Society: From New York to Bali

His style is marked by his use of different materials. The artist worked both on and off the canvas. Working at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, he specialized the paper pieces, such as Green Reflecting Heads Duo No.5 from 1996. These works are spooky depictions of green creatures emerging from the sea cluttered with trash – cans, and bottles. Depicting the grotesque characters that are often a critique of capitalism, the artist creates metaphors of society through various mediums and resourceful materials. One of his projects was marked by collaboration with the Yogyakarta Art Lab which is the major initiative of the Gajah Gallery and engaged Bickerton to create series of sculptures that he brought into connection with mitochondrial Eve. Firstly made of clay in his Bali studio, the pieces are later reinvented in different archival materials such as cast and aluminum. Generally, he is inclined to the use of natural found objects like driftwood and coconuts. His choice to live in Bali influenced his material selection, but also his style which became more figurative with vibrant splashes of color and exotic characters of native naked women. His creative process starts with making photographs of carefully dressed models placed into the appropriate setting and then painting from selected shots by applying pigments and found objects on the canvas. Being a part of the composition, the frames are modeled in clay, covered with the image that spills over onto them.

Bickerton creates metaphors of society through various mediums and materials

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Ashley Bickerton – L’Almanac 16, Installation view, 2016

Remaining Faithfull to Convictions

Beginning as a dominant part of the East Village Art scene during the 80’s, Bickerton resolutely stood as an opponent of consumerism and mechanization of the contemporary world, often making references to the societal concerns. These ideas remained in the focus of his works and his consistency is also reflected in the repetition of the use of his invented logos such as “culture lux” or “suzie”. Bickerton became a renewed creator and important figure who widely influenced to the next generations of artists. For the more than 25 years of his career, this American artist has exhibited worldwide and his works make a part of several museums and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Also, his pieces are shown to the audience in numerous group and solo shows across three continents.

Ashley Bickerton lives and works in Bali, Indonesia.

Featured image: Ashley Bickerton portrait – Image via
All other images courtesy of Lehmann Maupin Gallery

YearExhibition TitleGallery-MuseumSolo-Group
2016Painting 2.0 - Malerei im InformationszeitalterMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), ViennaGroup
2015Art Stage Singapore SingaporeGroup
2014Wrong's What I Do BestSan Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CAGroup
2014Post Pop: East Meets West The Saatchi Gallery, London Group
2013The System of ObjectsDeste Foundation for Contemporary Art, AthensGroup
2013The Whole EarthHaus der Kulturen der Welt, BerlinGroup
2013Ashley Bickerton & Nicolas PolLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYGroup
2013Nothing Turned Itself Inside OutWhite Flag Projects, Saint Louis, MOGroup
2013Freedom Not Genius - Works From Damien Hirst's CollectionMultimedia Art Museum - Moscow House of Photography, MoscowGroup
2013PragueBiennale 6Prague Biennale, PragueGroup
2013The Imaginary of the Ocean DeepTate St. Ives, St. Ives, CornwallGroup
2013Aquatopia - The imagnary of the ocean deepNottingham Contemporary, NottinghamGroup
2012This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2012This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980sICA - Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MAGroup
2012This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980sICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, LondonGroup
2012Ashley Bickerton313 Art Projects, SeoulSolo
2012MALEREI DER 80ER JAHRESprüth Magers Berlin, BerlinGroup
201225 Years Of Talent Curated By Michelle GrabnerMarianne Boesky Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Ashley Bickerton - The WomenCardi Black Box, MilanSolo
2012This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980sMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, ILGroup
2011The pavement and the beachParadise Row, LondonGroup
2011Painting ShowEastside Projects, BirminghamGroup
2011NocturnesLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYSolo
2011Masters of RealitySandra Gering Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Night Scented StockMarianne Boesky Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Circa 1986HVCCA - Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NYGroup
2011Night Scented Stock, Curated By Todd LevinMarianne Boesky Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010Swell - Art 1950 - 2010Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010The Facebook ShowMuseum of New Art - MONA, Pontiac, MIGroup
2010Ashely Bickerton - Solo ShowLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYSolo
2010At the edgePortsmouth Museum of Art, Portsmouth, NHGroup
2010The IncompleteGalerie Richard, Paris Group
2010Pop Life - Warhol, Haring, Koons, Hirst, …Hamburger Kunsthalle, HamburgGroup
2010Collecting BiennialsWhitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NYGroup
2010Law Of The JungleLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYGroup
2010Pop Life: Art in a Material WorldNational Gallery of Canada - Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, ONGroup
2010Lebenslust und TotentanzKunsthalle Krems, KremsGroup
2010Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection New Museum of Contemporary Art,New York City, NYGroup
2009Images & (re)présentations - The 1980s – Part 2MAGASIN - Centre National d’art Contemporain de Grenoble, GrenobleGroup
2009Branded and on Display Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, UTGroup
2009Ashley Bickerton - Recent WurgWhite Cube, LondonSolo
2009British Subjects: Identity & Self-fashioning 1967-2009Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NYGroup
2009Pop Life: Art in a Material WorldTate Modern, LondonGroup
2009Black Mondays May 11th through June 12thKathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York City, NYGroup
2008Now and Forever, Part IIMatthew Marks Gallery - 522 West 22th Street, New York City, NYGroup
2008Branded and On DisplayScottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art - SMoCA, Scottsdale, AZGroup
2008Branded and On DisplayTufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MAGroup
2008Ashley Bickerton - New WorkLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYSolo
2008OriginsHVCCA - Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NYGroup
2008Listen Darling… The World is YoursEllipse Foundation, AlcoitãoGroup
2008SAND: Memory, Meaning and MetaphorParrish Art Museum, Southampton, NYGroup
2007Fractured Figure - Works from the Dakis Joannou CollectionDeste Foundation for Contemporary Art, AthensGroup
2007Branded and On DisplayUlrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KSGroup
2007The IncompleteCAM - Chelsea Art Museum, New York City, NYGroup
2007Branded and On DisplayKrannert Art Museum, Champaign, ILGroup
2007Sign LanguageDes Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IAGroup
2007Group ShowGalleri Brandstrup, OsloGroup
2006Ashley Bickerton - Solo ExhibitLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYSolo
2006Contemporary sculptureZwirner & Wirth, New York City, NYGroup
2006Ashley BickertonSonnabend Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2006Twice DrawnThe Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College,Saratoga Springs, NYGroup
2005Looking at WordsAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2005TranslationPalais de Tokyo, ParisGroup
2004Visions of AmericaEssl Museum - Kunst der Gegenwart, KlosterneuburgGroup
2004Group ExhibitionNicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2004East Village USANew Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, NYGroup
2003Surf Culture - The Art History of SurfingHonolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HIGroup
2003Große KunstausstellungKunsthalle Villa Kobe, Halle, SaaleGroup
2003Der Augenblick ist EwigkeitKunsthalle Villa Kobe, Halle, SaaleGroup
2003Pop thru outArario Gallery Cheonan, Cheonan-siGroup
2003Banqueting Rooms: County Hall The Saatchi Gallery, London Group
2003Private Corporate IIein Dialog der Sammlungen - Daimler Contemporary, Berlin Group
2002From Pop to Now: Selections from the Sonnabend CollectionThe Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NYGroup
2002Off the Grid; Works on PaperLehmann Maupin, New York City, NYGroup
2002Recent Contemporary AcquisitionsAuckland Art Gallery, AucklandGroup
2001ShortcutsDeste Foundation for Contemporary Art, AthensGroup
2001Ashley Bickerton paradiseWhite Cube, LondonSolo
2001TelevisionsKunsthalle Wien (Museumsquartier), ViennaGroup
2001The 1st Auckland TriennalAuckland Triennial, AucklandGroup
2000Around 1984 - A Look at Art in the EightiesMoMA PS1, New York City, NYGroup
1999Deep StorageMuseum Kunstpalast, DusseldorfGroup
1998Deep Storage: The Arsenal of MemoryHenry Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
1998Painting - Now and Forever, Part IMatthew Marks Gallery - 522 West 22th Street, New York City, NYGroup
1998Pop SurrealismThe Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CTGroup
1997Ashley Bickerton - Four PillarsWhite Cube, LondonSolo
1997Magie der ZahlStaatsgalerie Stuttgart, StuttgartGroup
1996Sammlung SonnabendDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
1996AMERIKA - EUROPA Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, MunichGroup
1996Natural SpectaclesDavid Winton Bell Gallery, Providence, RIGroup
1995Elvis + Marilyn: 2 X ImmortalContemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXGroup
1994Ashley Bickerton Jimmie Durham Walton Ford Jeff WallNicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1993Post HumanDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
1992Post HumanDeste Foundation for Contemporary Art, AthensGroup
1992Post HumanCastello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, TurinGroup
1992Armleder, Artschwager, Bickerton, Vercruysse - Pori TaidemuseoPori Art Museum, PoriGroup
1991Act-Up Benefit ExhibitionPaula Cooper Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1991Power: Its Myths And Mores In American Art, 1961 - 1991Indianapolis Museum of Art - IMA,Indianapolis, INGroup
1991AnniNovantaGalleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna - GAM, BolognaGroup
1991Word As Image: American Art 1960–1990Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXGroup
1990Un art de la distinction ?Centre d'art contemporain Meymac, MeymacGroup
1990XLIVLa Biennale di Venezia,VeniceGroup
1989D + SKunstverein in Hamburg, HamburgGroup
1989Don't Bungle in the Jungle! - A Benefit Exhibition for the RainforestTony Shafrazi Gallery,New York City, NYGroup