1940 – 2008
Askevold’s work has been exhibited and collected widely internationally and can be found in major public gallery collections including The National Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. He was also a highly influential teacher at schools in Canada and the United States.
He is considered one of the pioneers of conceptual art and was included in the seminal exhibition Information at The Museum of Modern Art In New York, that cemented conceptualism as a genre. His seminal works, Muse Extracts, a photo-text installation of ghost-like self-portraits that was featured at Documenta in 1977, and The Poltergeist, a collaborative photo project with Mike Kelley in 1979 were among the highlights from this period. Askevold was intrigued in his studio practice with the connections between image and meaning his work at times becoming mystical with paranormal twist.
He was invited to teach at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the late 1960s and by the early 1970s, he developed led the legendary Projects Class at NSCAD thus innovating a radical change in approach to contemporary art instruction. Hemoved several times until his death in 2008 between Halifax, Nova Scotia and Los Angeles where he was also an influential figure during the 1970s post-minimal focus at CalArts
In the latter part of his career, Askevold’s performance Two Hanks, which summoned the disparate spirits of country music stars Hank Williams and Hank Snow was a seminal event and work. Other photo-text works—from the map-based Cultural Geographies series to his final set of digital “paintings” produced in 2007—are equally complex in their ideology and visual presence, never a sense of playfulness.
A major retrospective of his work David Askevold: Once upon a Time in the East, was organized by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and accompanied by a full-color, hardcover, edited by David Diviney, including texts by Diviney along with Ray Cronin, Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Aaron Brewer, artist and writer; Peggy Gale, curator and writer; Mario Garcia Torres, artist; Richard Hertz, former director of Graduate Programs at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena; Tony Oursler, artist; and Irene Tsatsos, Chief Curator, Armory Center for the Arts. It was identified by Artforum magazine as one of the top 50 shows of 2011. The exhibition travelled to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa in 2011 and to the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown and the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasedena, Los Angeles in 2012. It was identified by Artforum magazine as one of the top 50 shows of 2011.
Exhibitions from 2002-2012: on the archived WTG site.