Goops! The Stunning ‘Ruth Asawa’ Sculpture in Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Architectural Digest’ Home Tour Is Actually a Knockoff
The piece is by D'Lisa Creager, a former student of Asawa's daughter.
Actress and lifestyle maven Gwyneth Paltrow has a characteristically tasteful and elegant home, full of natural light and Minimalist art by the likes of Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari. But a large, woven, wire sculpture recently pictured hanging next to Paltrow’s couch is not, in fact, the work of Japanese American artist Ruth Asawa.
“I’m irrationally angry that Gwyneth has a Ruth Asawa,” design critic Alexandra Lange wrote.
But it turns out that the work is not Asawa’s. Instead, the piece is by D’Lisa Creager, who learned Asawa’s signature wire looping technique at a workshop taught by Aiko Cuneo, one of the artist’s daughters. At the time, Creager was already making jewelry with fine copper wire, and soon branched out into making larger, intricate works in Asawa’s style. (The Asawa family eventually ceased teaching these classes to put a stop to imitators, according to Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa by Marilyn Chase.)
After the photo began making the rounds on social media, the magazine edited the article to crop out the wire artwork in a photograph of Paltrow and remove all mention of Asawa in the caption. An update identified Creager as the artist instead.
Asawa, who died in 2013, at age 87, has become increasingly appreciated for her innovative nest-like works in recent years. David Zwirner began representing her estate in 2017. The gallery confirmed that Paltrow did not, in fact, own an Asawa work in an email to Artnet news.
Presumably, that means that another apparent Asawa featured by Architectural Digest in a story about Paltrow in 2017, is also by Creager. That piece was hanging in the Santa Monica warehouse that serves at the headquarters for Paltrow’s company Goop.
At the actress’s home, the Asawa-like work was installed in the living room, which is “kind of bonkers in the best way, I think,” said Paltrow in a video accompanying the article. “I really wanted it to be a bit of a showstopper.”
“I think it’s somehow inspired by Guns N’ Roses,” Paltrow said. “It was so nice to give such an amazing artist license to do whatever she wanted. I made no edits, I just said ‘do it.’ It’s like the jewelry for the living room.”
Paltrow decorated her home with the help of designer and art collector Brigette Romanek, who did not respond to inquiries from Artnet News.
Asawa’s prices have skyrocketed in the last 12 years. After years of working in relative obscurity in the Bay Area, Asawa caught the eye of Jonathan Laib, a vice president and senior specialist in postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, who encouraged her to auction one of her works in 2010. It set a new record for the artist with a $578,500 sale, nearly five times its estimate.
Her top auction price now stands at $5.38 million, according to the Artnet Price Database. That high was achieved in 2020 for a seven-lobed sculptures similar to the ones Paltrow has.
How much Paltrow paid for her lookalike works remains unclear, but Creager’s auction high tops out at a very respectable $35,000, a price achieved by three separate works at Rago Auctions in 2020. Creager is represented by George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles and Westport, Connecticut.
Additional reporting by Katya Kazakina.
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