I am captivated by Ruth Asawa.
When sheltering in place began in the San Francisco Bay Area in mid-March, I started a DIY “corona craft” project inspired by Asawa’s looped metal sculptures. I became fascinated not only by Asawa’s process of shaping wire, but also by the simplicity and complexity of her forms.
For weeks I have challenged myself to figure out new ways of manipulating wire to create transparent interconnected volumes in space. Despite my best intentions, my efforts are often subject to the pull of gravity, the limitations of hobby wire, and the whims of my feline assistant.
I think of the hours spent working on these pieces (before, after, and sometimes during the daily onslaught of online meetings) as a way of marking time in this precarious era. Each day when I take my line of wire for a walk, I am heartened by Asawa’s observation that “a line can go anywhere."
Tina Takemoto is a visual studies scholar and artist whose work explores issues of race, illness, queer identity, memory, and grief. They are the dean of humanities and sciences at California College of the Arts where they have taught since 2003. In 2018, Takemoto visited the Spencer Museum to participate in the Integrated Arts Research Initiative’s Social Histories inquiry. They presented the hybrid lecture and screening “Queer Social Histories and the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans,” exhibited their film On the Line, and selected works from the Spencer’s permanent collection to display in the Museum’s Jack & Lavon Brosseau Center for Learning.