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Ashley Bickerton (American, b.1959)


Birth Place: Barbados


Ashley Bickerton (1959) is a contemporary, mixed-media artist who is perhaps best known for his work in the Neo-Geo (Neo-Geometric) movement which came to prominence during New York’s East Village art explosion in the 1980s. With pieces that span the range of tropical surrealism to intense anthropospheres, Bickerton has proven to never shy away from striking colors, mixed-mediums, and bold thematic choices. 

Bickerton was born on the island of Barbados in 1959. The son of a linguist, his father’s work forced the family to move every few years before finally settling in Hawaii in 1972. This international background gave Bickerton a lens that would reveal itself over and over again throughout his artistic career. His talents manifesting early on, Bickerton graduated from the California Institute of Art in 1982 and immediately moved to New York to work at the Whitney Museum. 

While in New York, Bickerton mounted a number of solo exhibitions that eventually led to a four-person show at the prestigious Sonnabend Gallery in 1986 with Jeff Koons, Peter Halley, and Meyer Vaisman. His pieces, a series of abstract portraits made of rivets and black containers, enthralled audiences and critics alike. The piece, Abstract Painting for People 4 (1987) is now included in the exclusive Francois Pinault collection. With the art world buzzing about this fresh new talent, it would seem natural for Bickerton to stay in the city, but instead, he picked up and moved to Bali in 1993. His round rejection of the Neo-Expressionist trends and commercialism in the art world continued even as he evolved his style to include a number of repeated characters, anthropomorphic creatures, and indigenous women. 

Bickerton spent the 1990s in self-imposed exile from America, where his ethos against the commodification of art solidified. He experimented with manipulated photography, sculpture, and found-object pieces, eventually creating a series of anthropospheres -- three-dimensional art pieces that utilize found objects to jut out at odd angles from the painted canvas. Pieces like Made’s Warung (2006) and Green Head with Inlay 1 (2007) represent huge steps forward in the contemporary art community, challenging the audience to hold multiple ideas about each piece in their head at the same time. Both aesthetically pleasing yet also ugly, sensuous yet uneasy, it is in these oxymoronic states that we can recognize the true genius of a Bickerton.

While his work continues to demand attention in American art galleries, Bickerton’s focus remains international. Recently, he collaborated with the Yogyakarta Art Lab in Indonesia to create a series of contemporary sculptures made of cast aluminum. His 2014 series, The Silver Ladies depicts figurative double portraits of young Balinese women in various mixed mediums. Never content, Bickerton’s pieces are always bold and evocative. A Bickerton work shows the audience not just the artist’s truth but also their own personal truths and how these all fit within societal norms. This unflinching reflection makes each piece beautiful, dangerous, and wholly original. That’s the power of a Bickerton.

Ashley Bickerton Frequently Asked Questions

How much are Ashley Bickerton’s paintings worth?

Ashley Bickerton works in many formats, but on average an Ashley Bickerton painting can be found between $5000-$7000 USD, though many go at auction for over $12000, even for lesser-known works. 

What are famous paintings by Ashley Bickerton?

L.W.S.2 (2001), Made’s Warung (2006), Green Head with Inlay 1 (2007), Desert Island Head, Self-Portrait (1994)

What is the value of Ashley Bickerton’s paintings and sculptures?

Ashley Bickerton’s paintings and sculptures are extremely valuable to collectors. Some can be found in the low thousands for screenprints, but many go in the tens of thousands of dollars. 

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