David Pagel
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  • Degrees
    MA, Art History, Harvard University
    BA, Modern Thought and Literature, with Honors and Distinction in the Humanities, Stanford University
  • Research Interests
    Art, Art media, Painting, Contemporary Art, Art Criticism, Museums and Creativity

David Pagel is a professor of art theory and history in Claremont Graduate University’s Art Department. In addition to his teaching roles, Pagel is known as an art critic and art curator in circles much bigger than CGU’s. His rich career with these roles has led to his CGU courses, which include Studio Art, Survey of Contemporary Art, and Written Statement.

In addition to his position at CGU, Pagel has served as an adjunct curator at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, where he has organized Telling Stories: Reframing the Narratives; Unfinished Business: Paintings from the 1970s and 1980s by Ross Bleckner, Eric Fischl and David Salle; Underground Pop; and Damaged Romanticism: A Mirror of Modern Emotion. He has also written extensively for the Los Angeles Times. Since 1988, he has published reviews, features, and essays in ArtforumArt in AmericaFlash Artfrieze, and Art Issues, where he was reviews editor from 1998 to 2001.

Pagel’s 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 (VAST space projects, Las Vegas). Pagel’s recent publications include “Mokha Laget” in Mokha Laget: Perceptualism; “Mapping Music” in Spelman Evans Downer; “Empathy” in John Sonsini; “Dane’s Idiosyncrasies” in Dane Goodman: 40 Years of Making Art; “Identity and Inspiration” in Polly Apfelbaum, For the Love of Una Hale; and “Friends Don’t Let Friends Make Bad Art” in Old Friends: Tony Berlant and James Hayward.

Pagel recently published Talking Beauty: A Conversation Between Joseph Raffael and David Pagel about Art, Love, Death, and Creativity (Zero+) and Jim Shaw (Lund Humphries). He is currently working on a book on John Sonsini’s portraits. He is also co-organizing, with Kirk Pedersen, Pattern as Platform, a 40-artist exhibition that explores pattern as both structure and springboard.


“Empathy,” in John Sonsini, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, 2021

“Elliott Hundley’s Drawings,” in Elliott Hundley, Baik Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2021

“Joakim Ojanen,” in Joakim Ojanen, Vasteras Konstmuseum, Helsingfors, Finland, 2021

“Seeing for Yourself,” in Bret Price: Leverage, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, Ohio, 2021

“Visible Echoes,” in Marie Schoeff: Amplifying the Between, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA 2022

“Foreword,” in Michael Chukes: Identity Theft, Los Angeles, CA 2022

Studio Art
Survey of Contemporary Art
Written Statement