Betty Asher

Los Angeles Art Heroine

Betty Asher with Marcel Duchamp, 1963

Described as a "triple threat" by critic Christopher Knight, Betty Asher was a collector, curatorial assistant, and gallery owner credited with helping to develop Los Angeles's identity as a cultural hub. Asher moved from Chicago to LA with her husband in 1941 and began seriously collecting in the 1960s. She was especially drawn to Pop art and, during that same decade, she seeded her extensive collection of artist cups and saucers with the acquisition of several mugs by Ken Price. Many of those sculptural vessels are now in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where Asher worked as a curatorial assistant from 1966 to 1978. She left that position to co-found the Asher/Faure gallery with Patricia Faure, which opened in May 1979 at 8821 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. Among the artists Asher championed and collected were Bruce Conner, Joe Goode, George Herms, Ynez Johnston, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Emerson Woelffer. Asher passed away in 1994 at the age of eighty, leaving behind a Los Angeles whose vivacious art scene she helped bring into being.