Katie Taylor - Ruth Asawa: Citizen of the Universe
Image: Photo by Laurence Cuneo © Estate of Ruth Asawa. Image courtesy David Zwirner
Subject to current lockdown restrictions easing Modern Art Oxford will be opening a major new solo exhibition by Ruth Asawa. The exhibition will feature her signature hanging sculptures created in looped and tied wire that will celebrate her holistic integration of art, education and community engagement.
Asawa called for an inclusive and revolutionary vision for art’s role in society. As a teenager she lived in an internment camp due to the forced relocation and incarceration for some 120,000 Japanese-Americans by the US government on the eve of World War II. Despite the extreme conditions she learned artistic skills from professional artists and left in the firm belief that art can be life changing and a positive force for social good.
Image: Ruth at Work © Imogen Cunningham Trust
Asawa recognised that people can choose to transcend race, class and nationalistic divisions. For Asawa, 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 will run from 26 March — 23 May 2021.
Image: Ruth Asawa, 1957. Photo by Imogen Cunningham. © 2020 Imogen Cunningham Trust. Artwork © Estate of Ruth Asawa, Courtesy David Zwirner