Sterling Ruby’s work engages with issues related to autobiography, art history, and the violence and pressures within society. Employing diverse aesthetic strategies and mediums—including sculpture, drawing, collage, ceramics, painting, and video—he examines the tensions between fluidity and stasis, Expressionism and Minimalism, the abject and the pristine.
Born on Bitburg Air Base, Germany, to an American father and a Dutch mother, Ruby moved at a young age to the United States, where he grew up on a farm in southeastern Pennsylvania. There he encountered Amish quilt-making and Pennsylvania redware pottery, both of which directly inspired his initial forays into garment-making, soft sculpture, and ceramics. Ruby graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, in 1996. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002, followed by an MFA from the ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California, in 2005.
Living and working in Los Angeles, Ruby draws endless inspiration from the city’s physical and conceptual landscape. A subseries of the SP paintings (2007–14), the VIVIDS (2014), are electric color fields inspired by the shifting, multihued skies that he encounters on his way to the studio, while the SUBMARINE (2015) and TABLES (2015 –19) series were created from hulking industrial parts sourced nearby. Ruby’s work often deals with the ways in which acts of defacement, like urban demarcation and graffiti, can produce a painterly sublime. Both in his YARD paintings (2015–16) and in his WIDW paintings (2016–), he taps into the speed and motion of collage, incorporating bleached fabric and cardboard scraps and combining abstract color fields with fragments of studio refuse. Continually pushing the boundaries between artistic mediums, Ruby launched a ready-to-wear clothing line in 2019.
ACTS + TABLE
October 2–December 14, 2019
Britannia Street, London
March 1–April 15, 2017
980 Madison Avenue, New York
October 21–December 19, 2015
Extended through March 25, 2016
October 18, 2015–March 25, 2016
September 13–October 25, 2014
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Sterling Ruby: Disjointed Monuments to Nothing
Alessandro Rabottini investigates the theoretical and formal underpinnings of Sterling Ruby’s career through the lens of the artist’s series ACTS.
An exhibition at Gagosian, Paris, is raising funds to aid in the reconstruction of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris following the devastating fire of April 2019. Gagosian directors Serena Cattaneo Adorno and Jean-Olivier Després spoke to Jennifer Knox White about the generous response of artists and others, and what the restoration of this iconic structure means across the world.
Sterling Ruby: Bloody Pots
Ceramics expert Garth Clark explores Sterling Ruby’s practice in the medium, addressing the work’s allegiances and divergences from tradition.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2018
The Winter 2018 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available. Our cover this issue comes from High Times, a new body of work by Richard Prince.
Sterling Ruby: Winterpalais, Vienna
Mario Codognato, curator of the exhibition, discusses Sterling Ruby’s first-ever European survey, at the Belvedere’s Winterpalais galleries.
Online Viewing Room
Frieze London 2019
September 28–October 7, 2019
Gagosian’s latest foray into the digital marketplace is an expanded Online Viewing Room premiering during Frieze London 2019. The upcoming presentation, developed in collaboration with Sterling Ruby, will feature seven primary-market artworks from the personal archive of Ruby, including one new painting and one new sculpture made for this occasion. Ruby has selected seven pertinent secondary-market works by historical artists to be shown each in dialogue with one of his own.
The Frieze London 2019 Online Viewing Room will open at 12:00am on Saturday, September 28, in Hong Kong, and close at 11:59pm on Monday, October 7, in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
For more information about the Online Viewing Room or the work to be featured, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sterling Ruby, LANDING HELIOS (7096)., 2019 © Sterling Ruby
Frieze London 2019
Pitti Immagine Uomo 96
June 11–14, 2019
Fortezza da Basso, Florence, Italy
After nearly ten years of exploration, Sterling Ruby will release his first ready-to-wear clothing and accessories line, S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. The collection will debut at Pitti Immagine Uomo 96, the renowned menswear show in Florence, Italy, on June 13. Ruby has been selected as the special guest of the event. To learn more about the brand, visit srstudio.com or follow @S.R. STUDIO.LA.CA on Instagram.
Sterling Ruby. Photo: Melanie Schiff
February 2–April 21, 2019
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas
Sterling Ruby’s expansive practice offers a reassessment, critique, and reinvention of a variety of modernist strategies. This exhibition features nearly thirty large- and medium-scale sculptures spanning his career, from poured polyurethane works to monumental ceramic collages weighing hundreds of pounds to soft sculptures incorporating inexpensive fabrics that the artist dyes himself, to Minimalist compositions of urethane and Formica.
Installation view, Sterling Ruby: Sculpture, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, February 2–April 21, 2019. Artwork © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Kevin Todora
From Paris to the World
November 19, 2018–March 17, 2019
Denver Art Museum
Dior: From Paris to the World surveys seventy years of the House of Dior’s enduring legacy and its global influence. A selection of more than 170 couture dresses, as well as accessories, costume jewelry, photographs, drawings, runway videos, and other archival material, traces the history of the iconic haute couture fashion house. Work by Peter Lindbergh and Sterling Ruby is included.
Peter Lindbergh, Kiara Kabukuru, Debra Shaw, Paris, France, 1997, 1997 © Peter Lindbergh
October 3, 2018–March 17, 2019
Museum of Arts and Design, New York
Sterling Ruby’s areas of interest are numerous, but sculptures in clay have long played a fascinating and primary position in his broader studio work. Process and materiality are paramount for Ruby, and using these attributes has enabled him to create an extraordinary body of work that is engaging, intuitive, and subversive. This exhibition has traveled from the Des Moines Art Center.
Sterling Ruby, Brass Ketamine User, 2010 © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
West by Midwest
November 17, 2018–January 27, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
West by Midwest tells a story that illuminates the ways that contemporary art practices spread and develop by tracing the intersecting lives of artists who have migrated from the American Midwest to the West Coast since the mid-twentieth century. Lured by career opportunities, warmer weather, and the prospect of a better life promised by the postwar boom, those artists who were able to migrate attended art schools together, shared studios, exhibited work in the same galleries, collaborated on projects, engaged in activism, and dated one another. Work by Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Sterling Ruby, and Ed Ruscha is included.
Ed Ruscha and Billy Al Bengston, Business Cards, 1968, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago © Ed Ruscha and Billy Al Bengston. Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago