Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Asawa Working on a Wire Sculpture at her Saturn Street Home, 1957.
Photograph by Imogen Cunningham. © 2022 Imogen Cunningham Trust. Artwork © 2021 Ruth Asawa Lanier,
Inc. / ARS, NY and DACS, London. Courtesy David Zwirner
Citizen of the Universe takes a unique look at the visionary artist, educator and activist Ruth Asawa (b. 1926, Norwalk, CA – d. 2013, San Francisco, CA). She made a lifelong commitment to professional art making as a transformative activity for individuals, in education and in the lives of communities.
For Ruth Asawa, teaching art and learning were vital activities for dynamically engaging with life. Asawa was born to Japanese parents who worked as farm labourers in rural Norwalk, California.
For the artist, living a full life meant being socially engaged, having a family, creating art with them, and fully participating in the life of her local community. Quietly charismatic, Asawa chose to identify as a “citizen of the universe”, developing a sense of higher purpose grounded in improving life through art. Foregrounding these ideas, this exhibition is an affirmation of her timely relevance as a champion of the vital role creativity plays in society.
The exhibition features her signature hanging sculptures in looped and tied wire, and celebrates her holistic integration of art, education and community engagement through displaying prints, drawings, letters and photographs.
Modern Art Oxford
30 Pembroke Street