David Askevold (b. 1940, Conrad, Montana; d. 2008, Halifax, Nova Scotia) was an experimental artist who lived and worked in Nova Scotia. Askevold joined the faculty of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax in 1968, after studying art and anthropology at the University of Montana. In the early 1970s, Askevold became a pioneer of conceptual video and photography with a unique approach that collapsed formal narrative structures in favour of free-flowing image constructions unfolding in a synergy of visual motifs. This pursuit of unexpected connections between image and meaning lent Askevold’s work a mystical, and at times overtly paranormal, quality.
Askevold was a highly influential teacher at schools in Canada and the United States. In 1975, he was the popular choice to replace Bas Jan Ader at the University of California and he was also a key figure in the 1970s post-minimal heyday at CalArts. As an instructor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Askevold developed and led the legendary Projects Class, including the contributions of Lawrence Weiner, Robert Smithson, Lucy Lippard, Joseph Kosuth and Mel Bochner, that is still widely regarded as a radical innovation in contemporary art instruction.
Askevold showed at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 1983 in a group show entitled Head Hunters. He had solo shows at the Thomas Lewallen Gallery in Los Angeles in 1978 and a survey entitled Selected Works 1972-1976 at the University of California, Irvine in 1976. His group shows in the area include Reconsidering the Art Object 1965-1975 at MOCA (1995) and Michael Asher, Richard Long, and David Askevold at Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (1977). At the 1977 Documenta exhibition at Kassel, Askevold showed Muse Extracts, a 13 part photo text piece of ghost-like photographic reflections of the artist's head and torso taken at a pond near Crystal Crescent Beach in Nova Scotia. His works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.