Michael Asher

1943 - 2012 Artist

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Michael Asher was an innovative, Los Angeles-based, conceptual artist. Asher received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Irvine in 1966 in fine arts.

Beginning in the late 1960s Asher began to produce site-specific, non-object based works. Like his contemporaries Haans Haacke and Dan Grahame, Asher's art deliberately drew attention to the materials of its production. Throughout the 1970s Asher created engaging, interactive, reconfigurations of gallery space including a 1970 installation in which he removed the doors to the Pomona College Museum of Art, and a 1974 work at the Claire Copley Gallery in which he removed walls in order to merge office and exhibition space. These pieces aligned Asher with Institutional Critique, the artistic effort to reveal the circulation of power and value in the art world.

Asher taught at CalArts for over thirty years where John Baldessari was amongst his colleagues. Despite the challenges of exhibiting conceptual work, Asher exhibited both in the US and abroad and participated in shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, documenta 5 and documenta 7, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou and the Venice Biennale.

In 1983 Asher co-authored MICHAEL ASHER WRITINGS 1973-1983 ON WORKS 1969- 1979 with Benjamin Buchloh, the text remains one of the best sources on the artist's work.