New York

Ashley Bickerton

Sonnabend Gallery

Laboring in Andy Warhol’s long shadow, Ashley Bickerton came of age in the early ’80s as part of a whole new wave of artists that made its own aggressive assault on the art market the focus of its artistic endeavor. Treating the art world as a structure that could be mastered and exploited, they “worked” its mechanisms, coaxing them to visibility at the level of content. Bickerton’s early wall pieces—fitted with handles for easy moving, covers for protection, jokes on the back to entertain the art handlers, documentation of the origin of the materials used and abused in their fabrication, and, finally, digital counters to monitor their ever-escalating value—were virtual repositories of the unspoken information the modern object typically repressed, pointing to their own place in the larger economy of exchanges. The art in these culturescapes was no longer the essence they secreted at their

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