For the last 40 years, Michael Asher challenged the logic of architectural structures in galleries and museums, Born in Los Angeles, California, Asher was the son of gallerist Betty Asher and Dr. Leonard Asher. He studied at the University of California in Irvine,where he received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1966. He was considered one of the first wave of conceptual artists and described by The New York Times as “among the patron saints of the Conceptual Art phylum known as Institutional Critique, an often esoteric dissection of the assumptions that govern how we perceive art.”Rather than designing new art objects, Asher typically altered the existing environment, by repositioning or removing artworks, walls and facades.
Asher was also a highly regarded professor of art, who spent decades on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts.Cited by numerous successful artists as an important influence in their development, Asher’s teaching has been described by British journalist Sarah Thornton as his “most influential” work. He began teaching at the California Institute of the Arts in 1973,along with other influential artist-professors like John Baldessari, Judy Chicago and Allan Kaprow.His “post-studio art” course consisted of intensive group critiques that can focus on a single work for eight hours or more. His Writings, 1973–1983, on Works 1969-1979, co-authored by the art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, was published by The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Asher’s work was always exemplary to operational fields of contemporary art, that is, the critique of public or private modes of creating, entering a contract to create, laying the boundaries, analysis of historical and other contexts, artist’s own function within the circumstances.
His 2010 project or the Whitney Biennial saw the museum remain open 24 hours a day for one week (although this was shorten to three days by the museum due to “budgetary and human resources limitations”). It received the institution’s $100,000 Bucksbaum Award. Asher was on medical leave from CalArts since 2008. He died Sunday, October 14, 2012 after a long illness. He was 69.