The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air - Audio Tour


Ruth Asawa, one of the most important female artists of the 20th century, was born in 1926 in Norwalk, California. She is the fourth of seven children. Her parents were truck farmers, so Ruth and her six siblings worked long hours on the farm.

Ruth’s first experience using a paint brush—and possibly her first experience with art—was at Japanese school in Norwalk, where she was asked to try calligraphy.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ruth and her family were taken to the assembly center in Santa Anita, California, and then to Rowher Relocation Center in Arkansas. While in Santa Anita, Ruth had the opportunity to take art classes from a few incarcerated Disney Studios artists. There, she painted from real life instead of copying pictures from books.

Ruth also took art and drawing classes at Rowher. Once she graduated from high school, Ruth decided to attend Milwaukee State Teachers College; she wanted to become an art teacher.

Once she realized that this goal may never be achieved, due to anti-Japanese sentiment, Ruth packed her bags and left for Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There, she learned many new techniques and principles that she would later emit through her own work.

Ruth married Albert Lanier on July 3, 1949 in San Francisco, where they lived and raised their six children. Ruth continued to paint and to sculpt, creating innovative and breathtaking pieces. Ruth is most known for her popular looped and tied wire sculptures.

Ruth's pieces were displayed at the Japanese American National Museum from March 10, 2007 through May 27, 2007 in The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air. Organized by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the exhibition constituted the first complete retrospective of Ruth Asawa's enduring and richly varied career.

This collection features audio clips originally recorded for a cell phone tour by Guide by Cell to accompany the exhibition. The audio clips were recorded by Karin Higa, Senior Curator of Art at the Japanese American National Museum, and Aiko Cuneo, Ruth Asawa's daughter in March 2007.

Slides in this album 

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