Ashley Bickerton, a breakout star of New York’s Neo-Geo artwork scene of the Nineteen Eighties, died on 30 November at his residence in Bali, Indonesia. He was 63. His loss of life was confirmed by Gagosian, which started representing the artist in Could of this yr. He had been recognized with ALS (often known as Lou Gehrig’s illness) final yr. Bickerton was greatest recognized for his ingenious, usually bitingly satirical mixed-media practise, which ranged from slick sculptural riffs on company iconography to meditative works investigating identification and environmental degradation.
Bickerton was born 26 Could 1959 in Barbados, the place his father, a British linguist and scholar, was conducting analysis on pidgin tongues. That scholarly pursuit would trigger the Bickerton’s household to relocate quite a few occasions throughout his childhood— they lived on 4 totally different continents earlier than ultimately settling in Hawaii in 1972. Bickerton attended the California Institute of the Arts, the place he studied underneath the famed conceptual artist John Baldessari. After receiving a BFA in 1982, he moved to New York Metropolis and enrolled within the Whitney Museum’s Impartial Research Program, ultimately turning into enmeshed within the metropolis’s full of life East Village arts scene, the place he discovered an enriching inventive setting that will form his materials and conceptual focus for years to return.
“My identification was solid [in New York], and my language was solid there,” Bickerton instructed the Brooklyn Rail final February. “Even my sense of being an artist within the bigger world was solid there. In that sense, I’m a New York artist, at all times might be.”
The works that Bickerton created in New York have been slick, slippery issues that fused portray, sculpture and company branding into sly assemblages that took purpose at America’s client tradition. His wry conceptual strategy is encapsulated in a piece like Tormented Self-Portrait (Susie at Arles) #2 (1987-98), wherein the titular self-portrait is a set of company logos, which Bickerton figuratively signed together with his model identification alter ego, Susie Culturelux. This deadpan self-discipline would ultimately be woven along with the work of Bickerton’s East Village contemporaries resembling Peter Halley and Jeff Koons into the motion dubbed Neo-Geo, though Bickerton most well-liked the time period Commodity Artwork. For a lot of the Nineteen Eighties, Bickerton discovered growing essential and market success.
Finally, although, the proximity between artwork and commerce turned an excessive amount of for Bickerton, and in 1993 he relocated to Bali. The works Bickerton made after leaving New York’s artwork world grew into complicated figurative examinations of an identification in flux, folding in meditations on his itinerant childhood, his relationship with language and the postcolonial prisms that knowledgeable his stretches of island dwelling. In addition they grapple with the environmental destruction wrought by the capitalist tradition he had so persistently skewered years earlier. These are works possessed by blue-skinned parodies of Euro-American decadence, as seen in items like The Preparation With Inexperienced Sky (2007), or obsessive about visions of spoiled beachfront idyll, as captured in his Flotsam collection of work.
Bickerton might have modulated his materials strategy and conceptual focus over the many years, however his work earned popularity of a lot of his profession. He exhibited extensively all through the US till his loss of life, and his debut solo exhibition with Gagosian is about to open subsequent yr. His works are within the collections of establishments together with the Museum of Fashionable Artwork in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Tate Britain and the Whitney Museum of American Artwork, amongst many others.
“Ashley had a rebellious and singular voice within the artwork world that constantly captured the ethos of the time,” Larry Gagosian stated. “He remained revolutionary till the very finish, even together with his newest physique work that’s but to debut. I’m proud to have recognized him.”