Ruth Asawa  (American/Japanese, 1926-2013) 

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Ruth Asawa (American/Japanese, b. January 24, 1926) is a sculptor who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She was born in Southern California to Japanese immigrants. In 1942, her family was sent to a Japanese internment camp for six months; while there, she spent time drawing and painting with other artists. Asawa traveled to Mexico City in 1945 to study Spanish and Mexican Art. While attending the Milwaukee State Teachers College in Wisconsin, she was told that she couldn’t complete her degree because of the prejudice that existed against the Japanese people at the time. As a result, Asawa continued her education at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. While there, she studied under Josef Albers (American/German, 1888–1976), Merce Cunningham (American, 1919–2009), and Buckminster Fuller (American, 1895–1983).

In 1947, Asawa returned to Mexico and learned basket weaving techniques, which later influenced her to create crocheted wire sculptures. During the 1950s, Asawa began her art career making paintings and drawings that developed into linear works. Inevitably, her drawings shifted into sculpture. Asawa considers her wire sculptures to be three-dimensional drawings that change with the viewer’s perspective.

In 1966, the artist began to receive commissions for public art starting with Andrea, a fountain in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. She also designed the Japanese-American Internment Memorial Sculpture in San Jose in 1994. Asawa collaborated with landscape artists in 2002 to bring large boulders from former Japanese internment camps to San Francisco State University to create the Garden of Remembrance. Her belief in making art education available to children from all backgrounds lead her to co-found the Alvarado Arts Workshop (now called the San Francisco Arts Education Project) with Sally Woodbridge and other local parents in 1965. Asawa’s sculptures can be found in the collections of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art in Logan, Utah. Asawa is represented by the Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

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Ruth Asawa, Untitled, (S.606, Hanging Single-Lobed Five-Layer Continuous Form Within a Form)

 

Ruth Asawa
Untitled, (S.606, Hanging Single-Lobed Five-Layer Continuous Form Within a Form)
circa 1962

ARCHEUS / POST-MODERN
Ruth Asawa, Plane Tree #12

 

Ruth Asawa
Plane Tree #12
1959

Elrick-Manley Fine Art, Inc.
Ruth Asawa, Rare Cast Bronze

 

Ruth Asawa
Rare Cast Bronze
1996

Jeffrey Spahn Gallery
Ruth Asawa, Plane Tree

 

Ruth Asawa
Plane Tree
1958

Amy Wolf Fine Art
Ruth Asawa, Untitled

 

Ruth Asawa
Untitled
1995

Rena Bransten Gallery
 
Past auction results (69)  View All
Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.604, Wall Mounted on a Base, Tied Wire, Closed Center, Multi-Branched Form Based on Nature)

 

Ruth Asawa
Untitled (S.604, Wall Mounted on a Base, Tied Wire, Closed Center, Multi-Branched Form Based on Nature), 1963
copper wire

 

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Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.606, Hanging Single-Lobed Five-Layer Continuous Form Within a Form)

 

Ruth Asawa
Untitled (S.606, Hanging Single-Lobed Five-Layer Continuous Form Within a Form), 1962
copper, naturally oxidized w/green patina

 

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Ruth Asawa, Untitled S.437 (Hanging, Seven-Lobed, Two-Part Continuous Form within a Form with Two Small Spheres)

 

Ruth Asawa
Untitled S.437 (Hanging, Seven-Lobed, Two-Part Continuous Form within a Form with Two Small Spheres), 1956
Looped brass and steel wires

 

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  Born in Norwalk, CA
2012   Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX
2011   Elements: The Beauty of Chemisty, Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Traveling to Bergamo Scienza, Bergamo, Italy
2009   Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2007 - 2008   Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2007   Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2005   Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2003   Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Vital Forms, American Art in the Atomic Age, 1940-1960, Brooklyn Museum of Art. Brooklyn, NY
2002   Ruth Asawa: Completing the Circle, Oakland Museum of California. Oakland , CA
Parallels and Intersections: Art/ Women/ California, 1950-2000, San Jose Museum of Art. San Jose, CA
2001   Ruth Asawa: Completing the Circle, the Fresno Art Museum. Fresno, CA
Leading the Way: Visionary Asia American Woman Artists of the Older Generation, Gordon College in Wenham, MA
2000   Made in California: Art, Image and Identity, 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Raumkorper Netze und Andree Gebilde, the Kunthsalle in Basel, Switzerland
Made in California: Art, Image and Identity, 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
1999   Art in Stone: Prints from the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, 1960-1970, Norman Simon Museum. Pasadena, CA
1997   The Fabric of Life: 150 years of Northern California Fiber Art History San Francisco State University Art Department Gallery. San Francisco, CA
1996   Generations--the Lineage of Influence in Bay Area Art, Richmond Art Center. Richmond, CA
1995   J.J. Bookings Gallery, San Francisco, CA
With New Eyes, the University of Michigan and the San Francisco State University Gallery: Detroit, MI and San Francisco, CA
1993   Asian Roots, Western Soil, Berkeley Arts Center Berkeley, CA
Pacific Rim: Japan, California Crafts Museum San Francisco, CA
Syntex Gallery Palo Alto, CA
1989 - 1990   Blueprint for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, CA
1988   Passages: A Survey of California Women Artists, Fresno Arts Center and Museum Fresno, CA
1987 - 1988   The Eloquent Object (Sculpture), Phillbrook Museum, Oakland Museum of Art Oakland, CA
1987   San Francisco City College Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1986   Two Person Show (Sculpture), Los Robles Gallery Palo Alto, CA
1984   Evergreen Galleries Olympia, WA
1982   Fiberworks Berkeley, CA
1979   Cedar Street Gallery Santa Cruz, CA
Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA, Cedar Street Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA (solo)
Santa Cruz County Building, Santa Cruz, CA (solo)
1978   Fresno Arts Center and Museum, Fresno, CA (solo)
1973   The Baxter Gallery, California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA (solo)
Van Doren Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
San Francisco Museum of Art, Retrospective View San Francisco, CA
1972   American Women: 20th Century, Lakeview Center for the Arts and Sciences, Peoria, Illinois
1970   Painters and Sculptors of San Francisco: The Expo 70 Presentation of the San Francisco Art Commission. San Marco Gallery at Dominican College: San Rafael, CA
1969   Recent Drawings: Ruth Asawa, Capper Gallery, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
1967   Made with Paper, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, New York
1966   Contemporary Prints from Northern California, IBM Gallery, New York, New York
1965   Pasadena Museum of Art, Pasadena CA (solo)