Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

How to Present Art, Part 2: Asher Faure Gallery

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teeny-duchamp_richard-hamilton_betty-factor_william-copley_monte-factor_walter-hopps_betty-asher_marcel-duchamp_las-vegas_19631I’ve given a little bit of background on Betty Asher in my last post, regarding the sophisticated sensibilities of certain Californians—a group that definitely included Ken Price and Betty Asher.  I’ve also posted previously an amazing group photo from a field trip to Las Vegas with Marcel Duchamp. In the Archives of American Art interview with Betty by Thomas Garver, she describes the evening:

“At dinner we went to the Stardust and they have the follies or something, a girlie theater, and I was sitting next to Marcel at the table and the picture is a result of one of those girls in short skirts coming around with a big camera to take pictures. And just as she was about to click, I put my arm around Marcel, my fingertips very gingerly touched his shoulder because I didn’t want him to know that I was doing this, so I have this nice picture of Marcel with my arm around him.

Asher’s collection of early Pop paintings, important works by sculptors such as Larry Bell, and ceramics (teapots, cups—famously—and figurative sculpture) was housed until the end of her life in an open and spacious condominium in Beverly Hills. I visited there during the early 1990s, and saw the variety of work—from a Jasper Johns Flag to a Philip Guston painting, from a Larry Bell to an Ed Ruscha. Betty continued collecting Ken Price’s work. Her legendary collection of cups, many of which are now in the LACMA permanent collection, was prominently displayed.  In an archive, I have found this photo of her living room.

In the late 1970s, along with business partner Patricia Faure, Betty Asher opened a gallery at 8221 Santa Monica Boulevard. Their idea was “to have not only our own small group of young artists, or artists we represented who wouldn’t necessarily have to be young. In addition to that we wanted to work with New York dealers in a way that hadn’t been done before. We wanted to bring work that we liked and that hadn’t been seen for a long time, or ever, in the Los Angeles area, to our gallery…” Asher recalled in the AAA interview.

Later, the gallery moved to Almont in West Hollywood. A new voluminous space was constructed behind a small bungalow, and Betty and Patricia Faure continued their exhibition program. Remarkably, they exhibited many ceramic artists, including Viola Frey, Marilyn Levine, and others–in addition to sculpture by Joel Shapiro and Michael McMillen, and paintings by Joe Goode, Margaret Nielsen, and dozens of others. I’ve been able to research these shows, and scan some of the images from the Asher Faure archives.  The image shown here is the installation of monumental figurative work by Viola Frey, which Asher championed during the 1980s, and also collected herself.

What’s fascinating is to compare that same room—the aforementioned gallery space behind the West Hollywood bungalow—when it has an installation of paintings by Craig Kauffman. In the next image, we can see a series of paintings by Craig Kaffman playfully known as the “cage paintings”—a loose, open architecture of painted lines that resemble the framing of a structure. Kauffman, an artist who exhibited many times at Asher Faure, has often used the skipping, playful line in his work. It’s great for me to remember this exhibit, and the integration of ceramics and painting at the Asher Faure Gallery.

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Written by Frank Lloyd

July 4, 2009 at 12:58 am

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for educating me on the history of Asher Faure Gallery and Betty’s art life. Betty was one of the first collectors/gallery owners I met during the student sale at Otis. She purchased the first cup I ever made, and Ralph was pleased, explaining the significance of catching Betty’s eye. I enjoyed visiting with Betty whether it was at gallery openings, lunching with artists, conversing at Wayne’s house, bumping into her at Matsuhisa, or discussing cups. Betty was so down to earth and approachable that I never knew she walked with the legends in art, because she was not a name dropper. Your article made me appreciate her even more, because she was respectful with this novice student and still conversed with royalty.

    Joan

    Joan Takayama-Ogawa

    July 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm

  2. Just found this and loved reading more about Aunt Betty and seeing the photo. I recall going to the gallery once years ago & being fascinated.

    Thanx…….

    with peace, rayna kraman

    Rayna Kraman

    March 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm


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