Ruth Asawa was an American artist known for her intricate sculptures based on sinuous organic forms. Using galvanized wire, stone, and bronze, Asawa crafted nest-like works inspired by native Mexican basket-weaving techniques. “I was interested in it because of the economy of a line, making something in space, enclosing it without blocking it out. It’s still transparent,” she said of her materials. “I realized that if I was going to make these forms, which interlock and interweave, it can only be done with a line because a line can go anywhere.”
Born on January 24, 1926 in Norwalk, CA to Japanese immigrants, her early life was blighted by her family’s detainment in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. After the war, Asawa left California in pursuit of a teaching degree from Milwaukee State Teachers College. Met by discrimination in Milwaukee, the artist abandoned her teaching degree and ventured to Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC. While at Black Mountain College, she studied under prominent artists such as John Cage, Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, and Merce Cunningham. Asawa died on August 5, 2013 in San Francisco, CA. Today, the artist’s works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco.