David Pagel

Professor of Art Theory and History

Fall 2015 Hours

Tuesdays 5:00-7:00 p.m., and by appointment


MA, Harvard University, Art History, 1987
BA, Stanford University, Modern Thought and Literature, with Honors and Distinction in the Humanities, 1985


David Pagel is an art critic who writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times. Since 1988, he has published reviews, features and essays in Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, frieze, and Art Issues, where he was reviews editor from 1998-2001. He is also an adjunct curator at the Parrish Art Museum, in Water Mill, NY, where he has organized EST-3: Los Angeles Art from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Underground Pop, and Damaged Romanticism: A Mirror of Modern Emotion. Other exhibitions, which typically emphasize pleasure’s place in intellectual inquiry, include Painting from Another Planet (Deitch Projects), The Dreams Stuff is Made Of (Art Frankfurt), Radar Love (Galleria Marabini, Bologna), Tripod: Kyla Hansen and Dion Johnson (Claremont Graduate University), and The 10th Circle (Western Project). Recent publications include “Inside-Outsider” in Ralph Humphrey, Paintings 1972-83; “Full Circle” in Albert Contreras; “Nagle: in His Own Context,” in Nagle, Ron; “Fast Times, Slow Looks” in Wendell Gladstone: D.O.A., S.O.S., ETC., and “The Handmade Imagination of John Frame,” in Three Fragments of a Lost Tale. Pagel has also written the wall plaque texts for the art in Cowboys Stadium. An avid cyclist, he is a five-time winner of the California Triple Crown.



Current Projects

Pagel recently completed an essay for a book on Robert Zakanitch’s magnificent paintings, an essay for an exhibition of Viola Frey’s groundbreaking ceramics, and an essay for a monograph on Lee Mullican’s influential yet still underrated art. He is currently working on a book with painter Joseph Raffael. Titled “Talking Beauty,” its subject is the uneasy relationship between experience and knowledge, particularly when it comes to art, beauty and truth. Pagel is also organizing “Unfinished Business: Paintings from the 1970s and ’80s by Ross Bleckner, Eric Fischl and David Salle,” an exhibition that will be at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY in the summer of 2016.

Selected Publications

“Ingenious Adaptation,” in Decade: Contemporary Collecting, 2002-2012, The Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 2012

“Meat & Potatoes and Mushrooms on Speed,” in Stone Gravy exhibition catalog, Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe, New York, 2012

“Trust,” in Michael Bishop exhibition catalog, BC Studio, Istanbul, 2012

Interviews with Michael Brewster, Tom Eatherton, Ed Moses, and John M. White, in It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles, 1969-1973, Pomona, 2011

“What’s So Funny About Exuberance, Joy, and Satisfaction? Or, The Necessity of Excess,” in Feast: Michael Reafsnyder exhibition catalog, Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe, New York, 2011

“Pop Goes Underground,” in Underground Pop, Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, 2010

“Mongrel Formalism: Clay and Paint in California,” in Electric Mud exhibition catalog, Blaffer Gallery, the University of Houston, 2009

Recent Lectures, Panels and Podcasts

“Privacy and Voyeurism in Dan McLeary’s Paintings,” exhibition walk-through, USC Fisher Gallery, Feb. 27, 2015
“My Job as a Contemporary Art Critic,” podcast, “The Conversation: Episode 103,” theconversationpod.com, March 7, 2015
“The Future of Arts Journalism,” LA as LAB panelist, CGU, March 28, 2015