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Where Are They Now? Tracking the Neo-Geometric Conceptualists

LEAP Magazine


By Robin Peckham

 

We live in a state of the perpetual present. With the revolving door of exhibitions in more and more venues, commercial and scholarly alike, thousands of artists appear on a relatively flat plane of aesthetics. This is good for a lot of things—fair art criticism among them—but it tends to hurt our understanding, as viewers, of where the art is actually coming from. Neo-geometric conceptualism is a case in point. Best known as Neo-Geo (and also called Neo-Conceptualism and Simulationism), the 1980s East Village movement involved a redeployment of minimal strategies from conceptual art in relation to popular culture, melding aspects of pop art and conceptualism. Many of its leading artists are now well-known on their own. LEAP takes a look at how their work has evolved, and what they might still share.

 

 
Ashley Bickerton
 
 
When Bickerton lived in New York, he made formally pleasing, strictly geometric structures in two dimensions and three. His “self-portraits” gathered corporate and brand logos on minimal plates, while other work played with product packaging in intricate superimpositions of boxes, cables, and bars. He left in 1993, and now lives in Bali. His recent work takes on the cultural politics of his adopted home in the form of figurative paintings of the future-indigenous and assemblages of maritime pollution. While the images at the core of his subject matter have undergone a massive shift, the framing devices remain constant across Bickerton’s great migration.