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Christie's opens survey exhibition dedicated to American artist Ruth Asawa
Ruth Asawa and Wire Sculpture and Shadows. Photo: Imogen Cunningham.
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s presents a survey exhibition dedicated to one of America's most talented artists of the 20th century, Ruth Asawa. Objects & Apparitions is Asawa’s first major solo show in New York in over 50 years. This curated exhibition will feature an extraordinary grouping of approximately 50 works including sculpture and works on paper — for private sale or on loan— and will afford a rare and comprehensive view of the artist’s body of work. This exceptional three-week exhibition will take place on the 20th floor of 1230 Avenue of the Americas, at Rockefeller Center in May 2013. The exhibition coincides with the New York Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in May of this year, and will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, with original texts by poet and art critic, John Yau, and Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. At the May 15th evening sale auction, Christie’s will offer a major sculpture from the Ruth Asawa Family Collection.

“It is an honor to present this survey of amazing and singular works by Ruth Asawa. The exhibition will trace Asawa’s artistic journey from her works on paper, created while studying with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, to her career as a pioneering modernist sculptor currently gaining international recognition. The large scope and stature of Asawa’s work will come into vivid focus in this exhibition that I had the pleasure of assembling with the assistance and guidance of Asawa’s incredible family. We are privileged to be able to present thirty-four sculptures and fourteen works on paper, with additional documentary source materials including vintage photographs of the artist and her work taken by the renowned photographer Imogen Cunningham. This exhibition is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York City in over fifty years and Christie’s is pleased to be able to host this incredible event” stated Jonathan Laib, Christie’s, Senior Specialist, Post-War & Contemporary Art, curator of the exhibition.

On a journey to Mexico in the summer of 1947, Asawa was captivated by the looped wire baskets used in markets to sell eggs and other produce. Intrigued with wire as an exploratory medium for her own studies, she began to loop and twist wire in a similar fashion. Asawa began creating threedimensional forms that played with their surrounding space using one continuous line made of wire. These looped wire sculptures with their multi-layered exterior and interior forms invoke a sense of wonder that immediately turns to a curiosity about how they were made. These sculptures rely on the language of transparency that is associated with the formulation of modernism and design
promoted by the Bauhaus.

Asawa's looped wire forms were often executed in her home, with her six children surrounding her, creating a poetic narrative in which life intertwines with art. The maternal character of Asawa’s art recalls the organic forms of another important 20th century female artist, Louise Bourgeois, whose oversized outdoor bronze spider sculptures possess a similar sense of labored domesticity. Both artists touch on the notion of a mother figure weaving and threading her way through art and life as a means of reflecting upon personal experience. Similarly, Asawa's process and rhythmic wire loops bring to mind the early “Infinity Nets” created concurrently by Yayoi Kusama in the 1950s and 1960s. Though Kusama's nets were primarily graphic works on canvas, her paintings, like Asawa's looped wire sculptures, were created through the infinite repetition of a single calligraphic motion. Like Yayoi Kusama, Ruth Asawa creates mystery and profundity through deceptively simple means while giving form to the ineffable.

If Asawa became a groundbreaking modernist sculptor of abstract forms, she was first an extremely talented painter. The exhibit will present a series of works on paper from her time studying at the famed Black Mountain College and additional works created during her residency at the legendary Tamarind Institute. These works feature variations and meanders, bird and chevron motifs, and overlapping forms, creating multiple optical illusions, a vocabulary inspired by her studies with Josef Albers.

Evening sale Post-War and Contemporary Art - May 15, 2013
A major work from the Ruth Asawa Family Collection will be offered at auction on May 15. Estimated at $250,000-350,000, Untitled (S.108, hanging, six lobed, multi-layered continuous form within a form) — illustrated on page 2 — is one of the artist's largest and most intricate sculptures, incorporating her best-known form-within-a-form motif. With a length of 137 inches, Untitled (S.108) exists essentially as a drawing in space, an intertwining network of brass and copper wire. It was exhibited in the American Pavilion at the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair.

Ruth Asawa has lived a rare and unique life as an artist. Her life, like her art, has been shaped by social and political impositions, unjust restrictions on her liberties and supposed inalienable rights. As a teenager in the early 1940's, Asawa and her family were sent by Executive Order to an internment camp along with approximately 120,000 fellow Japanese-Americans. Under the tutelage of professional artists who were also held captive in the camps, Asawa began exercising freedom through her art while the government stripped her of her civil liberties. Despite the suffering she endured. Asawa exhibited great humility and harbored little resentment more than fifty years after the event, saying, "I hold no hostilities for what happened; I blame no one. Sometimes good comes through adversity. I would not be who I am today had it not been for the Internment, and I like who I am."

By 1946, Asawa had been recruited by fellow student Ray Johnson to attend Black Mountain College where, for the next three years she was mentored by such visionaries, as Josef and Anni Albers, Ilya Bolotowsky, Merce Cunningham and Buckminster Fuller. From the teachings of these legendary artists, Asawa absorbed fundamental lessons that instilled a “less is more” approach to art making. Asawa gained prominence with her wire sculptures in the 1950s. Her work appeared several times in the annual exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and in the 1955 São Paulo Art Biennial, but also in solo and group shows at the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Oakland Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. She had major solo retrospective exhibits at the San Francisco Museum of Art (1973), the Fresno Art Center (1978 and 2001), the Oakland Museum (2002), the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum (2006), and the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, 2007). Her work can be found in major collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. She has received numerous awards including the Fine Arts Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts from the Women’s Caucus for Art. In 1982, February 12th was declared Ruth Asawa Day in San Francisco. The same year she was the driving force behind the creation of the public high school for the arts, which is now the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.





Today's News

May 7, 2013

Punk fashion is focus of spring 2013 Costume Institute exhibition at Metropolitan Museum

A Surrealist masterpiece, major Brazilian and Mexican Modernist works to be offered at Christie's

Sotheby's in Paris to offer a selection of works from the Collection of Comtesse Viviane de Witt

Exhibition of works by Paul Delvaux, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, opens at Blain/Di Donna

Latvia hopes for Baltic 'Bilbao effect' with museum dedicated to US art superstar Mark Rothko

The English Collector: Four chairs from the historic Stansted Park Suite to be offered at Christie's

Ragnar Kjartansson hangs works by Edvard Munch inside a barn at Moderna Museet

Google Maps 1493 A. D.: The Whole World in a Book at Ketterer Kunst sale in Hamburg

Christie's opens survey exhibition dedicated to American artist Ruth Asawa

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia brings to Sydney the first Australian survey of works by Jeff Wall

Aspen Art Museum presents the first North American solo exhibition of the work of Thea Djordjadze

A celestial blue pool of water and unorthodox musical instruments fill National Gallery of Victoria foyer

ABBA: A new museum in Stockholm revives 1970s disco 'Dancing Queen' icons

Glasgow based artist Stephen Sutcliffe exhibits at Glasgow's Tramway

The World between Two Hands: Teabowls of Ajiki Hiro on view at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd.

International Design Museum Munich devotes exhibition to design icons

Major exhibition of Karl Blossfeldt's photographs and publications on view at The Whitechapel Gallery

Nationalmuseum's Midwinter Sacrifice taken down for the renovation

Lark Mason and Associates' Asian, Ancient, & Ethnographic Works of Art Auction achieves over $2.75 millon

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4.- Getty Foundation and partners launch free of charge online art collection catalogues

5.- Historic photos of dead Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara resurface in small Spanish town

6.- Exhibition showcases the first two 'Poesie' created by Titian following their restoration

7.- O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

8.- Crystal Bridges announces the departure of museum President Don Bacigalupi

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10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach



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