The exhibition presents drawings, collages, watercolors, and sketchbooks alongside stamped prints, paperfolds, and copper-foil works, showing the breadth of Asawa’s innovative practice. Many of the more than one hundred works from public and private collections have not been previously exhibited. Organized thematically, the presentation begins with foundational lessons that the artist absorbed and built upon at Black Mountain College in the late 1940s. Subsequent sections examine the function of repetition and the development of specific motifs and approaches—from the Greek meander to paper folded in structural patterns—and how they recur and change throughout her career. Surveying the artist’s impressive range and expansive approach, Ruth Asawa Through Line offers an unparalleled window into Asawa’s resourceful approach to drawing, with her particular attention to materials, line, surface, and space.
Ruth Asawa Through Line is co-organized by the Menil Collection and the Whitney Museum of American Art, in close collaboration with the estate of Ruth Asawa.
This presentation is accompanied by a copiously illustrated, scholarly catalogue co-published by the Menil Collection and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and distributed by Yale University Press. The book, with more than 200 illustrations, reproduces many previously unpublished works as well as archival materials.
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Ruth Asawa Through Line is co-curated by Edouard Kopp, John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute and Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art, with Kirsten Marples, curatorial associate at the Menil Drawing Institute, and Scout Hutchinson, curatorial fellow at the Whitney Museum.
Major funding for this exhibition is provided by The Henry Luce Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and Christie’s. Additional support comes from The Brown Foundation, Inc./ Nancy Abendshein; Clare Casademont and Michael Metz; Barbara and Michael Gamson; Dillon Kyle and Sam Lasseter; Franci Neely; Susanne and William E. Pritchard III; Ann and Mathew Wolf Drawing Exhibition Fund; Nina and Michael Zilkha; the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.