Ruth Asawa Untitled c. 1955

  • Not on view

Asawa created this work by looping wire with a dowel, a process she likened to “drawing in space.” Transparent and not freestanding, Asawa’s wire constructions subverted traditional sculpture to such an extent that when she first showed one in 1950, its status as sculpture was questioned. Reviewers also denigrated her work in gendered terms, calling it decorative and domestic. Such distinctions meant little to Asawa. She began her art education at an internment camp where people of Japanese descent were relocated following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and she later attended the experimental art school Black Mountain College, which encouraged students to mine the possibilities of their chosen material, rather than adhering to the orthodoxies of a given medium.

Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017.
Brass wire, iron wire, and galvanized iron wire
116 × 14 1/2 × 14 1/2" (294.6 × 36.8 × 36.8 cm)
Promised gift of Alice and Tom Tisch
Object number
© Estate of Ruth Asawa.
Painting and Sculpture

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