A 30-second online art project:

Peter Burr, Sunshine Monument

Learn more

Learn more at

Skip to main content

Reality Reimagined: Vision as Process in the Work of Ruth Asawa and Harry Smith

January 9, 2024

Online, via Zoom

Open to all members

Tuesday, January 9, 2024
6–7 pm

This virtual member talk with Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow Patryk Tomaszewski will explore how vision—in its sensorial, imaginary, and existential capacities—functioned as a driving force behind the multifaceted practices of Ruth Asawa and Harry Smith. While the artists’ careers overlapped but never intersected, both captured their respective visions of post-war America, where opportunity ran parallel to systemic inequity.

Ruth Asawa is recognized for her exploratory approach to materials, line, surface, and space and produced an impressive range of drawings. The 130 drawings currently on view in Ruth Asawa Through Line demonstrate her technical dexterity and interest in the aesthetic possibilities of the everyday as informed by her personal life and seismic cultural shifts.

Similarly embracing vision as central to his artistic process, Harry Smith harnessed modern technologies, abstraction, spiritualism, and folk traditions in his practice. Shaped by childhood memories of the Great Depression, he remained resolutely antiestablishment across his career. His multifaceted practice, featured in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: The Art of Harry Smith, encompassed painting, filmmaking, musicology, writing, and collecting as creative acts.

Patryk Tomaszewski is a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum and a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the CUNY Graduate Center, researching global twentieth-century realisms. His dissertation offers the first scholarly examination of exhibitions of Socialist Realist art in Stalinist Poland (1948–56). His writing has appeared in ARTMargins Online and MoMA’s post: notes on art in a global context, among other publications, and he is an adjunct lecturer at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Learn more about access services and programs.