Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa
Continuous (S.340, Hanging, Miniature Single-Lobed, Three Layered Continuous Form within a Form), c. 1981-1982
Hanging sculpture—gold-filled wire
3 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches
(8.9 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm)
©  Estate of Ruth Asawa

David Zwirner is pleased to announce the gallery's first exhibition dedicated to the work of Ruth Asawa since having announced the representation of the artist's estate earlier this year, which will take place at the 537 West 20th Street location. The exhibition will bring together a selection of key sculptures, paintings, and works on paper spanning Asawa's influential practice, as well as rare archival materials, including a group of vintage photographs of the artist and her work by Imogen Cunningham. 


Born in rural California, Asawa began to make art while detained in internment camps for Japanese Americans at Santa Anita, California, and Rohwer, Arkansas, where she was sent with her family in 1942-1943. Following her release, she enrolled in Milwaukee State Teachers College, eventually making her way to Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1946, then known for its progressive pedagogical methods and avant-garde aesthetic milieu. Asawa's time at Black Mountain proved formative in her development as an artist, and she was influenced there in particular by her teachers Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, and the mathematician Max Dehn.



Read more


For more information about available works contact






537 West 20th Street
New York




Ruth Asawa
Asawa in her studio in the mid 1950s. Photo by Paul Hassel.

Explaining her fascination with wire as a material, Asawa said, "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. 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."

A hanging looped-wire sculpture by Ruth Asawa was included in the critically acclaimed group exhibition Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Installation view of Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (2017)

Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth is a 1978 documentary by the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Snyder. The film presents an intimate portrait of the artist, exploring the personal philosophies which influenced her work.

"It was . . . part of our life to just see her always working," her daughter Aiko recalled . . . The distinction between domestic and nondomestic art would have made no sense to Asawa. "Art is doing," she wrote. "Art deals directly with life."


Read the full article in The New York Times Magazine



Asawa in her studio in the mid 1950s. Photo by Paul Hassel.
Asawa with her work 1957. Photograph © Imogen Cunningham Trust and Estate of Ruth Asawa/David Zwirner Gallery

"The history of American art is getting a rewrite at the David Zwirner gallery on West Twentieth Street, in a transporting show of sculptures by the little-known Ruth Asawa: diaphanous wonders, crocheted out of wire, that appear to be floating in space."


Read the full review in The New Yorker