This past Tuesday, Malky Kazam’s sixth grade art elective classes were treated to a private tour of the Ruth Asawa exhibit at the David Zwirner Art Gallery in NYC. Led by Senior Director Jonathan Laib, parent of Yavneh students Noah, Benji, Ethan and Kira, the students were in awe as they took in Asawa’s floating intricate wire sculptures, plaster face masks, drawings of flowers, wicker chairs and more. Laib shared details about Asawa’s life experiences and the influences that inspired her artwork. The students were fascinated by her story of growing up as a Japanese-American during WWII and how she never stopped working on her art, filling her home and yard with sculptures and drawing on whatever surface she could find.
With a few minutes to spare before having to head back to the school bus, Laib suggested the group go around the corner to another David Zwirner gallery space to see an exhibit of paintings by Katherine Bernhardt. The students took in Bernhardt’s tribute to Dr. Teeth of Electric Mayhem from the Muppets and noticed that her wild, brightly colored, almost graffiti-style paintings marked a fascinating contrast to the serene neutral works of Asawa.
Yavneh is so grateful to Laib for sharing an illustrated book about Asawa’s life to keep in its art room library, for extending this invitation to Yavneh’s students and giving them an experience that they will surely remember and will inspire them for many years to come.