© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
BR49.390
People
Ruth Asawa, American (Norwalk, California, USA 1926 - 2013 San Francisco, CA)
Title
Untitled (BMC.117, BMC stamp on newsprint)
Other Titles
Former Title: BMC on newsprint
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
1946-1949
Culture
American
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Stamped ink on newspaper
Dimensions
41.9 x 55.9 cm (16 1/2 x 22 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r. in black ink: RUTH ASAWA
  • inscription: l.r. in black ink: N.C. // RUTH ASAWA // BLK. MT. COLLEGE
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Josef Albers
Copyright
© Ruth Asawa Lanier
Accession Year
1949
Object Number
BR49.390
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Label Text: 32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus) , written 2014
Ruth Asawa enrolled at Black Mountain College—an experimental school near Asheville, North Carolina, in which art-making played a central role in liberal education—in order to study with Josef Albers. Albers and his wife, Anni, had joined the school’s faculty at its founding in 1933 as the first Bauhaus émigrés to America. Asawa made these works using rubber stamps from the college laundry room, where she was assigned as part of the school’s work program: “BMC” abbreviates the college’s name while “double sheet” (from object BR49.391) indicates a linen size, and in this case, the folded paper format. The works reflect Josef Albers’s lessons to use everyday materials to emphasize economy of means, figureground relationships, positive and negative space, and the effect of transparency. Their all-over patterning suggests a kind of typographic textile, anticipating Asawa’s better-known sculptures begun the same year, based on Mexican crocheted wire baskets, and likewise created by repeating a single, basic operation.

Exhibition History

32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/06/2015 - 07/07/2015

Ruth Asawa: Life's Work, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 09/14/2018 - 02/16/2019

Subjects and Contexts

The Bauhaus

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu