Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was highlighted with a Google Doodle (in some countries) on Wednesday as May kicks off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The Google feature would have exposed Asawa's work to millions of people.
The doodle above the Google search bar depicts Asawa creating a series of multi-colored, undulating and hanging wire sculptures, her signature work. Asawa was also known as an education activist.
A California native, Asawa began experimenting with wire following years of detainment with her family in internment camps during World War II. She later studied under teachers Josef Albers and Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she developed her unique looped wire pieces in the late 1940s.
"I was interested in the economy of a line, enclosing three-dimensional space....," she said. "I realized that I could make wire forms interlock, expand, and contract with a single strand, because a line can go anywhere."
Asawa expanded her career in the San Francisco Bay Area where her public commissions included the mermaid fountain at Ghirardelli Square.
She went on to help found Alvarado Arts Workshop in 1968, and the first public arts high school established in San Francisco in 1982; Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts was renamed for her in 2010.
David Zwirner Gallery represents Asawa's estate. Her work is in the collections of the de Young, Whitney, Guggenheim, and other institutions.