The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air

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This exhibition of approximately 54 sculptures and 45 works on paper, with additional documentary source materials, including notebooks and vintage photographs by Imogen Cunningham, constitutes the first complete retrospective of Ruth Asawa’s enduring and richly varied career. Drawing from works in Asawa’s extensive archive as well as important loan contributions, the exhibition begins with her earliest works, drawings and paintings created in the 1940s at Black Mountain College, the famous experimental art school in North Carolina. It goes on to highlight her signature wire sculptures that formed the visual vocabulary of looped and tied open forms with which she continued to experiment throughout her career beginning in 1949. Chosen as a United States representative for the 1955 São Paulo Biennial, Asawa received national renown for these daring sculptures in the 1950s and 1960s.

On the occasion of the exhibition, a fully illustrated catalogue is being published by the University of California Press, with articles by scholars Daniell Cornell, Karin Higa, Mary Emma Harris, and Emily Doman. Together, this publication and the exhibition serve to reinforce this important artist’s work in the history of American modernism.


The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air is supported by the LEF Foundation. The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air catalogue and education programs is supported by Louise and Claude Rosenberg Jr. Family Foundation.

Currently on view