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Title

Ashley Bickerton, Minimalism's Evil Orthodoxy Monoculture's Totalitarian Esthetic #1 (1989)

Author

Walker Art Center

Date

1998

Institution Walker Art Center
"To me Minimalism suddenly revealed itself as a progenitor or accomplice to the same logic that produces monoculture row planting in national forests, and saturation bombings. . . . I wanted to do an acrobatic leap between the piety of the Minimalist project and the real world effects of that kind of thinking."--Ashley Bickerton, 1989

The six cast-concrete boxes contain soil and crop samples from Africa, Asia, and South America, areas where monoculture--the widespread cultivation of a single cash crop--has become a common practice. Bickerton compares this restrictive farming method with the aesthetic of Minimalism, in which the singular use of primary forms to create works whose impact depends on their sheer physical presence outweighs any allusions to the outside world.

Bickerton critiques what he sees as the single-minded thinking underlying both Minimalism's relentless pursuit of pure, efficient form and monoculture's emphasis on specialized crop production. In the narrow pursuit of a single goal, monoculture willfully ignores the harmful implications--dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, hybrid crops with a diminished resistance to weather and disease, and the depletion of the agricultural gene pool.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for Ashley Bickerton, Minimalism's Evil Orthodoxy Monoculture's Totalitarian Esthetic #1 (1989), from the exhibition 100 Years of Sculpture: From the Pedestal to the Pixel, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, February 22-May 24, 1998.
Rights: Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009