Friday, April 20, 2018

Ruth Asawa's Tools

While I was at SFMOMA the other day to see the Akomfrah / Turner show I happened to also stumble upon a display of the artist Ruth Asawa's tools - the very ones, presumably, that she used to make sculptures such as the one below (which hangs in a different part of the museum). My enjoyment in looking at them was somewhat marred by a middle-aged white couple - no, wait, scratch that, I keep forgetting, I'm middle-aged, so that makes them: an elderly white couple loudly griping about such humble items being so reverently displayed in a glass vitrine. But I thought it was pretty cool. If you've ever seen the Imogen Cunningham photo of Asawa making art while sitting on the floor surrounded by her kids (second image down, below), then you have a pretty good idea why, from a feminist perspective, the fact of her ruler and her pencil and her butter knife being on show in a major museum is actually a pretty big deal.

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