On Wednesday, an Architectural Digest story featuring a look inside actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s home went viral on social media because it included one unexpected object: what appeared to be a Ruth Asawa sculpture hanging not far from an Ed Ruscha painting. But that Asawa sculpture seems not to be a real work by the artist after all.
Queried by ARTnews, a spokesperson for David Zwirner, which represents the artist’s estate, seemed to suggest that the piece was either a fake or a copy, saying only, “This work is not by Ruth Asawa.”
A tweet by New York Times design critic Alexandra Lange helped bring attention to the Asawa-like sculpture that hung in Paltrow’s living room beside what appeared to be an Ed Ruscha painting. Soon after her original post on Wednesday, Lange pointed out that Architectural Digest appeared to edit the original photograph, effectively replacing the first image with a new one that was cropped. There is no longer any mention of the Asawa sculpture in the Architectural Digest article.
ARTnews has reached out to Gagosian, which represents Ruscha, to learn if he is the painter of the work above Paltrow’s couch. ARTnews has also reached out to a representative for the wellness company Goop, which Paltrow founded, for a comment from the actress. Neither replied in time for the publication of this article, but ARTnews will update if they do reply.
Because the imaging rights for artworks are often handled by galleries, foundations, and estates, it is not unusual for publications like Architectural Digest to blur out certain works when they run shots of people’s homes. Indeed, Paltrow seems to own a John Baldessari painting that she has hung above a fireplace. Mysteriously, that painting is blurred in a video tour, but not in a photograph of Paltrow’s home featured within the article.
Since her death in 2013, Asawa has become an increasingly sought-after artist for her intricately crafted wire sculptures. Now, her works regularly sell at auction for millions of dollars. (And if anyone were able to purchase one, it would seem to be Paltrow, whose home, complete with a spa, costs $5 million, according to Architectural Digest.) Asawa is expected to appear in the main exhibition of the 2022 Venice Biennale, and in 2020, her art was featured on a set of limited-edition stamps by the United States Postal Service.
Update, 2/3/22, 12:07 p.m.: Architectural Digest has issued a correction and identified the artist behind the Asawa-like sculpture: D’Lisa Creager. On Creager’s website she claims to have been taught the wire looping technique Asawa employed from Asawa’s daughter Aiko Cuneo. Creager’s works are strikingly similar to Asawa’s famous sculptures. It is unclear if the Asawa-like sculpture featured in an Architectural Digest piece about Paltrow’s office-space is also a Creager.
Additionally, someone close to the sale of the Ed Ruscha painting confirmed that the piece Paltrow owns is legitimate.