Archive for the ‘ Technique/Type/Style ’ Category


Dates: 1982-Present

Origin: United States

Key Artists: Ashley Bickerton, Peter Halley

Short for Neo-Geometric Conceptualism. This term came into use in the early 1980s in America to describe the work of Peter Halley, Ashley Bickerton, Jeff Koons and others. Halley in particular was strongly influenced by the French thinker Jean Baudrillard. Their work aimed at a being a critique of the mechanization and commercialization of the modern world – what Halley referred to as the ‘geometricisation of modern life’. Seeing geometry as a metaphor for society, Halley made brilliantly colored geometrically abstract paintings which, however, have a figurative basis. They are derived from things such as circuit boards, which Halley uses to represent the individual organisms and networks of contemporary urban existence. The paintings are depictions of the social landscape, of isolation and connectivity. The work of Bickerton and Koons was mainly three dimensional. Koons parodied consumer culture by presenting real consumer goods as works of timeless beauty. Bickerton in works such as his Biofragment series, created a vision of apocalypse.

“Neo-Geo.” 12 March 2010. <>

Peter Halley



Dates: 1978-Present

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger

By the end of the 1970s, Modernism’s utopian principles of innovation, artistic authenticity, and individual expression had become increasingly suspect in a critical culture attuned to late capitalism’s production of desire. Postmodernist theory—articulated in fields as diverse as architecture, comparative literature, semiotics, and political science—questioned and dismantled the grand narrative of Western culture and had a profound impact on the visual arts. A number of different yet related aesthetic strategies (known variously as “Appropriation art” and “Neo-Geo”) emerged at this time to signal the apparent demise of Modernism and to critique its legacy. Some artists flagrantly appropriated the works of others and called these their own in order to demonstrate the myth of originality and the death of the authorial voice. Others exploited the commodification of their work to underscore the inescapable effects of commerce on the art world. In a Duchampian mode, these artists incorporated ready-made objects drawn directly from the commercial realm into their sculptures and installations. Still others produced abstract, geometric canvases (as emblems of Modernism) to demonstrate that painting, like any representational system, is a code or text that could be endlessly replicated. Additionally there is a fundamental compatibility between Postmodernism’s critique of cultural authority and the feminist critique of sexual difference. Hence a number of women artists associated with Neo-Conceptualism used its strategies of appropriation, pastiche, and simulation to challenge the auratic quality of the autonomous art object and the (male) cult of the artist.

“Neo-Conceptualism.” 12 March 2010. <>

Richard Prince


Dates: 1978-1990

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Philip Guston, Julian Schnabel

A movement in painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, which emerged in the late 1970s and was firmly established on the critical map in the early 1980s with a number of major exhibitions, especially ‘A New Spirit in Painting’ held at the Royal Academy, London in 1981. The paintings are typically on a large scale, rapidly executed, and display a raw, expressive approach to their materials. Objects such as straw or broken crockery may be embedded in the paint surface. Subject-matter is usually figurative but often infused with a spirit of pessimism. Neo-Expressionism has enjoyed particular success in Germany (Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz) and the USA (Julian Schnabel).

“Neo-Expressionism.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Julian Schnabel


Dates: 1975-1985

Origin: United States

Key Artists: Michael B. Gallagher, Jack Reilly

Abstract Illusionism, a name coined by Louis K. Meisel, is an artistic movement that came into prominence in the United States during the mid 1970s. Works consisted of both hard-edge and expressionistic abstract painting styles that employed the use of perspective, artificial light sources, and cast shadows to achieve the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Abstract Illusionism differed from traditional Trompe L’oeil (fool the eye) art in that the pictorial space seemed to project in front of, or away from, the canvas surface, as opposed to receding into the picture plane as in traditional painting. Primarily, though, these were abstract paintings, as opposed to the realism of Trompe l’Oeil.

Wikipedia contributors. “Abstract Illusionism.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Jul. 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <>

Michael B. Gallagher


Dates: 1972-1990

Origin: Russia

Key Artists: Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid

Term used from 1972 to describe a style of unofficial art that flourished in the USSR from c. 1970 to c. 1985–8. The term itself is formed from the first syllable of Sotsialisticheskiy realizm (Rus.: ‘Socialist Realism’) and the second word of Pop art and is attributed to the art historian Vladimir Paperny. Sots art takes the style of Socialist realism, with its mass ideological implications, as a legitimate object of investigation, intending to deconstruct the ideological system through its own visual language. It forms a criticism of Socialist Realism by unofficial Russian artists as reflecting the ideological myths underpinning Soviet society. The means of ideological propaganda are thus investigated in terms of their relation to the national mentality and their consumption as objects of mass culture. The main artists producing works of this type were Komar and Melamid, Erik Bulatov (e.g. Horizon, 1971–2; Paris, priv. col.), and, since the mid-1970s, Il’ya Kabakov, Dmitry Prigov (b 1940), the sculptors Aleksey Kosolapov (b 1948) and Leonid Sokov (b 1941) and the group Gnezdo (Rus.: ‘Nest’), founded in 1975. The first prominent exhibition of Sots art was held at Ronald Feldman Fine Art, New York, in 1976. There was a second wave of Sots art in Moscow, comprising work by the group Mukhomory (Rus.: ‘Toadstool’), founded in 1978, which included the sculptor Boris Orlov (b 1941) and the painters Grigory Bruskin (b 1945) and Rostislav Lebedev (b 1946). Artists who had emigrated and continued to work in this style in New York (Komar, Melamid, Sokov, Kosolapov) used it to criticize not only Soviet but also American ideological myths and institutions.

Andreyeva, Yekaterina. “Sots art.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Vitaly Komar


Dates: 1969-1980

Origin: United States

Key Artists: Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler

Characterized by intuitive and loose paint handling, spontaneous expression, illusionist space, acrylic staining, process, occasional imagery, and other painterly and newer technological techniques,Lyrical Abstraction led the way away from minimalism in painting and toward a new freer expressionism.Painters who directly reacted against the predominating Formalist, Minimalist, and Pop Art and geometric abstraction styles of the 1960s, turned to new, experimental, loose, painterly, expressive, pictorial and abstract painting styles. Many of them had been Minimalists, working with various monochromatic, geometric styles, and whose paintings publicly evolved into new abstract painterly motifs.

Wikipedia contributors. “Lyrical Abstraction.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <>

Richard Diebenkorn


Dates: 1967-1972

Origin: Italy

Key Artists: Piero Gilardi, Giuseppe Penone

Term coined by the Genoese critic Germano Celant in 1967 for a group of Italian artists who, from the late 1960s, attempted to break down the ‘dichotomy between art and life’ (Celant: Flash Art, 1967), mainly through the creation of happenings and sculptures made from everyday materials. Such an attitude was opposed to the conventional role of art merely to reflect reality. The first Arte Povera exhibition was held at the Galleria La Bertesca, Genoa, in 1967. Subsequent shows included those at the Galleria De’Foscherari in Bologna and the Arsenale in Amalfi (both 1968), the latter containing examples of performance art by such figures as Michelangelo Pistoletto. In general the work is characterized by startling juxtapositions of apparently unconnected objects: for example, in Venus of the Rags (1967; Naples, Di Bennardo col., see 1989 exh. cat., p. 365), Pistoletto created a vivid contrast between the cast of an antique sculpture (used as if it were a ready-made) and a brightly coloured pile of rags. Such combination of Classical and contemporary imagery had been characteristic of Giorgio de Chirico’s work from c. 1912 onwards. Furthermore, Arte Povera’s choice of unglamorous materials had been anticipated by more recent work, such as that of Emilio Vedova and Alberto Burri in the 1950s and 1960s, while Piero Manzoni had subverted traditional notions of the artist’s functions (e.g. Artist’s Shit, 1961, see 1989 exh. cat., p. 298). Like Manzoni’s innovations, Arte Povera was also linked to contemporary political radicalism, which culminated in the student protests of 1968. This is evident in such works as the ironic Golden Italy (1971; artist’s col., see 1993 exh. cat., p. 63) by Luciano Fabro, a gilded bronze relief of the map of Italy, hung upside down in a gesture that was literally revolutionary.

“Arte Povera.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Piero Gilardi