This is the story of a woman who wielded imagination and hope in the face of intolerance and who transformed everything she touched into art. In this compelling biography, author Marilyn Chase brings Asawa’s story to vivid life. She draws on Asawa’s extensive archives and weaves together many voices—family, friends, teachers, and critics—to offer a complex and fascinating portrait of the artist.
Born in California in 1926, Ruth Asawa grew from a farmer’s daughter to a celebrated sculptor. She survived adolescence in the World War II Japanese-American internment camps and attended the groundbreaking art school at Black Mountain College. Asawa then went on to develop her signature hanging-wire sculptures, create iconic urban installations, revolutionize arts education in her adopted hometown of San Francisco, fight through lupus, and defy convention to nurture a multiracial family.
A richly visual volume with over 60 reproductions of Asawa’s art and archival photos of her life (including portraits shot by her friend, the celebrated photographer Imogen Cunningham)
Documents Asawa’s transformative touch—most notably by turning wire—the material of the internment camp fences—into sculptures
Author Marilyn Chase mined Asawa’s letters, diaries, sketches, and photos and conducted interviews with those who knew her to tell this inspiring story.
Ruth Asawa forged an unconventional path in everything she did—whether raising a multiracial family of six children, founding a high school dedicated to the arts, or pursuing her own practice independent of the New York art market.
Her beloved fountains are now San Francisco icons, and her signature hanging-wire sculptures grace the MoMA, de Young, Getty, Whitney, and many more museums and galleries across America.