St. Louis

View of “Ruth Asawa,” 2018–19. Photo: Alise O’Brien.

Ruth Asawa

Pulitzer Arts Foundation

View of “Ruth Asawa,” 2018–19. Photo: Alise O’Brien.

“Life’s Work” is not merely the first solo museum retrospective devoted to Ruth Asawa (1926–2013) beyond the West Coast; it is also the first after a flurry of “rediscovery” exhibitions that have marked the artist’s transition from the margins to the canon proper. Building upon the foundational career-spanning survey in 2006 at San Francisco’s de Young Museum, subsequent shows up to this point have exhibited Asawa’s work as a corrective gesture, to counter racist and patriarchal art-historical models, while reiterating certain biographical narratives in response to prior dismissals: her childhood as a daughter of Japanese immigrant farmworkers who were, as a family, interned during World War II; her galvanizing education as a student and friend of Josef Albers and Buckminster Fuller, among other established modernists, during her three years at Black Mountain College; her two

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