Short for neo-geometric conceptualism, the term came into use in the early 1980s in America to describe the work of artists who criticized the mechanisation and commercialism of the modern world

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  • Peter Halley, 'The Place' 1992

    Peter Halley
    The Place 1992
    Acrylic on canvas
    unconfirmed: 2420 x 2180 mm
    Lent from a private collection 2000 Peter Halley

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  • Jeff Koons, 'Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Two Dr J Silver Series, Spalding NBA Tip-Off)' 1985

    Jeff Koons
    Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Two Dr J Silver Series, Spalding NBA Tip-Off) 1985
    Mixed media
    unconfirmed: 1536 x 1238 x 336 mm
    Purchased 1995 Jeff Koons

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  • Jeff Koons, 'New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red, Brown, New Shelton Wet/Dry 10 Gallon Displaced Doubledecker' 1981-7

    Jeff Koons
    New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Red, Brown, New Shelton Wet/Dry 10 Gallon Displaced Doubledecker 1981-7
    Vacuum cleaners, plexiglass and fluorescent lights
    displayed: 2510 x 1370 x 715 mm
    ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 Jeff Koons

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Neo-geo is short for neo-geometric conceptualism. It is applied to the work of Peter Halley, Ashley Bickerton, Jeff Koons and others. Their work was influenced by the style of earlier developments in twentieth century art – such as minimalism, pop art and op art – but they used this language to criticize what Halley referred to as the ‘geometricisation of modern life’. Halley in particular was strongly influenced by the French thinker Jean Baudrillard.

Seeing geometry as a metaphor for society, Halley made brilliantly coloured 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.