Artwork Guide

Ruth Asawa

Born 1926, Norwalk, California, U.S.; died San Francisco, California, U.S., 2013

May 2021

Ruth Asawa is perhaps best known for her wire sculptures, which she thought of as three dimensional line drawings in space. She made her sculptures from ordinary, industrial materials such as copper and brass wire, and pioneered a technique of looping a single wire into graceful, wavy, billowy shapes, like you see in the sculpture on the opposite page. This wire technique was inspired by a trip to Mexico, where a craftsman taught Asawa how to loop a basket. For other wire sculptures, she began with a bundle of wires that she divided and tied into branching forms. Though Asawa’s sculptures suggest things like waves, jellyfish, plants, and trees, they do not represent specific objects.

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