A Tribute to Japanese-American Sculptor Ruth Asawa

The pioneering artist died recently of natural causes in San Francsico.

By Jamilah King Aug 07, 2013

Pioneering Japanese-American sculptor Ruth Asawa died of natural causes on Tuesday. She was 87 years old.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Ruth Asawa will be remembered for the extraordinary wire sculptures that so beautifully interweave nature and culture," said Timothy Burgard, curator of American art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He characterized her "as a pioneering post-World War II modernist whose works have transcended the multiple barriers she faced as an Asian American woman artist working with traditional ‘craft’ materials and techniques. She lived to see all of these confining categories challenged and redefined."

For more than five decades, Asawa’s work influenced the American art world. Her elegant steel structures have become staples of public art in the Bay Area, known especially because Asawa initially designed them using oragami paper models. Back in 2009, Asawa discussed her work with KQED, Northern California’s public television station. 

San Francisco’s School of the Arts now bares Asawa’s name.