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Betty Asher & Irving Blum

Henry Hopkins in conversation with Betty Asher and Irving Blum

Betty Asher (1914-1994) was a contemporary art collector and dealer in Los Angeles for thirty years. After working as a registered nurse at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, she moved to LA with her former husband, Dr. Leonard Asher, during WWII. She was known for her extensive collection of cups by artists, most of which can now be found at LACMA. From 1966-1979, she was the curatorial assistant in the 20th-Century Art department at the museum, and was one of the founders of the Modern and Contemporary Art Council. Along with art dealer Patricia Faure, she opened the Asher/Faure Gallery in West Hollywood after resigning from the museum. Her son, Michael Asher, is a conceptual artist.

Irving Blum (born 1930) studied English and Drama at the University of Arizona before dropping out and enlisting in the Air Force in 1951, becoming a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service. After his discharge, he went to New York to work for Hans Knoll, the founder of famed furniture company, Knoll Associates. Three years later, Blum moved to LA to become an art dealer. From 1958-1966, Blum ran Walter Hopps’ Ferus Gallery on La Cienega Blvd, which had the distinction of presenting Andy Warhol’s first show in 1962. Once the gallery closed, he opened his own space, the Irving Blum Gallery, which he ran until moving to New York in 1972.

Interview Recorded on 9/12/1987

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