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Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
Ashley Bickerton was born in Barbados in 1959 and lives and works today in Bali, Indonesia. His work is quite varied in form and style, ranging from paintings to installations of found objects that he borrows from their everyday context. His works are considered to be conceptual art, meaning that he is more concerned with the idea behind an artwork than its finished form. Bickerton has made many sculptures that incorporate real elements of soil and plant life to examine peoples' relationship to nature.

Minimalism's Evil Orthodoxy Monoculture's Totalitarian Esthetic #1 is a complex wall sculpture of six rough concrete boxes containing soil and crop samples (peanuts, coffee, and rice) from Africa, Asia, and South America. These are areas where monoculture--widespread cultivation of a single cash crop--has become common practice.

Minimalism was an art movement from the 1960s that dominated much of the art practice in the United States, especially New York. Minimalists sought to create pure, geometric, abstract art in which the physical properties of space, scale, and materials were explored as ends in themselves rather than as metaphors for human experience. 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.

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Type: Commentary, online content
Source: Ashley Bickerton, Minimalism's Evil Orthodoxy Monoculture's Totalitarianism Esthetic #1 (1989), from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.
Rights: Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009