Ruth Asawa: Through Line
Kim Conaty, Edouard Kopp, Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, Jordan Troeller, Scout Hutchinson, Kirsten Marples, Isabel Bird
The Menil Collection, Whitney Museum & Yale University Press, 2023
Ruth Asawa (1926–2013), widely known for her looped-wire sculptures, was an inveterate drawer. She filled sketchbook after sketchbook and even stated that drawing was central to her sculpture. This volume is the first to consider the significance of drawing in Asawa’s oeuvre throughout her career, featuring essays that examine the range of Asawa’s aesthetic maneuvers across materials and techniques; how Asawa’s drawing intertwined with the Bay Area arts community and her contributions to public education as a teacher and organizer; and the influence of Josef Albers’s pedagogy and Asawa’s lifelong adoption of his type of paper folding. Tracing Asawa’s artistic journey from her first formal art lessons in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II through her time at Black Mountain College and beyond, this comprehensive overview of the artist’s drawings includes reproductions of more than one hundred works— many of which have never been published— organized into eight thematic sections that cut through time, reflecting an art-making practice that was more circular or cyclical than linear.