The Most Beautiful Show of the Year

Sebastian Smee writes, in his Washington Post article:

“ST. LOUIS — The year’s most beautiful exhibition — yes, it’s September, but I’m willing to make the call now — is a survey of suspended hanging sculptures and works on paper by Ruth Asawa at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. I write this less than an hour after leaving “Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work,” so forgive me if I sound effusive. But I wager you wouldn’t demur. Out in the haze and heat shimmer of late-summer St. Louis, my body still hums with an unfamiliar sensation — of weightlessness, transparency and an almost rude elegance.

Asawa’s sculptures are intricate, organic-seeming things, made from crocheted copper, brass, galvanized steel and iron wire. They have an aura of casual prowess and the concision of crunched-down equations describing the curves of water droplets or summer weeds shooting skyward in spirals. You don’t expect sculpture to function as a visual correlative to swimming in air. Asawa found a way and, in so doing, found her voice.”

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Photo: The main gallery installation view of “Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work” at Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. (Alise O’Brien Photography/Pulitzer Arts Foundation)