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.
Augurs of Spring
As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.
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.
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.
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.
October 21–24, 2021, booth B23
Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
Gagosian is pleased to participate in FIAC 2021 with a presentation of painting, sculpture, and works on paper by gallery artists. The booth will feature works by Georg Baselitz, Edmund de Waal, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Katharina Grosse, Simon Hantaï, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Auguste Rodin, Sterling Ruby, Setsuko, Jim Shaw, and Cy Twombly, among others. A selection of the works will also appear on gagosian.com and in FIAC’s Online Viewing Room.
Gagosian’s booth at FIAC 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Giuseppe Penone/2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; © Michael Heizer; © Georg Baselitz, 2021; © Pier Paolo Calzolari. Photo: Thomas Lannes
Art Basel 2021
September 24–26, 2021, hall 2, booth C8
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel 2021 with modern and contemporary works by gallery artists, as well as several special entries in the Unlimited and Parcours sectors of the fair.
Gagosian’s booth in the main sector of the fair will feature works by Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, John Currin, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Titus Kaphar, Rick Lowe, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, and Mary Weatherford, among others. A selection of these works will also appear on gagosian.com and on Art Basel’s Online Viewing Room.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Ed Ruscha, © Mark Tansey, © Glenn Brown, © Succession Picasso 2021, © Jenny Saville, © Albert Oehlen, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, © Cy Twombly Foundation, © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 12pm est
Sterling Ruby will speak with Tim Blanks, editor of the Business of Fashion, about his artistic process and foray into haute couture, as well as how he has stayed creative during the pandemic. The haute couture collection was created in Ruby’s Los Angeles studio, expanding the idea of the artist’s studio as atelier. Garment construction—from pattern-drafting and 3-D draping to dyeing, washing, and rinsing—occurs under the same roof as metalworking, oil painting, and ceramic firing. To attend the online event, register at businessoffashion.zoom.us.
Photo: Melanie Schiff
Craft in Art, 1950–2019
Closing February 2022
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 foregrounds how visual artists have explored the materials, methods, and strategies of craft over the past seven decades. Some expand techniques with long histories, such as weaving, sewing, or pottery, while others experiment with clay, beads, and glass, among other mediums. Work by Richard Artschwager, Mike Kelley, Shio Kusaka, and Sterling Ruby is included.
Shio Kusaka, (line 5), 2010 © Shio Kusaka
Sterling Ruby in
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
Through February 20, 2022
Brooklyn Museum, New York
This exhibition traces the groundbreaking history and legacy of the House of Dior, bringing to life Dior’s many sources of inspiration, from the splendor of flowers and other natural forms to classical and contemporary art. With objects drawn primarily from the Dior archives, it includes over two hundred haute couture garments as well as photographs, archival videos, sketches, vintage perfume elements, accessories, and works from the museum’s collection. Work by Sterling Ruby is included.
Sterling Ruby, SP132, 2010 © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
Sterling Ruby in
In America: A Lexicon of Fashion
Through September 5, 2022
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Launching a two-part exploration of fashion in the United States, the exhibition In America: A Lexicon of Fashion at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art establishes a modern vocabulary of American fashion based on its expressive qualities. This first half of the exhibition uses the organizing principle of a patchwork quilt, which serves as a metaphor for varied cultural identities in the United States. Approximately one hundred men’s and women’s ensembles by a range of designers from the 1940s to the present are featured. Work by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA./Sterling Ruby is included.
VEIL FLAG by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA./Sterling Ruby
Sterling Ruby at Cycladic
May 14–June 27, 2021
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens
In this exhibition, Sterling Ruby places a selection of his ceramic sculptures among the rare artifacts of the Museum of Cycladic Art’s permanent collection as well as in the museum’s temporary exhibition wing. Ruby’s works—which here include smaller utilitarian objects, larger basins, as well as figurative, floral, and totemic forms—converse with representative examples of figurines, tools, weapons, and pottery from the distinctive culture that flourished in the central Aegean during the Early Bronze Age.
Installation view, Sterling Ruby at Cycladic: Ceramics, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, May 14–June 27, 2021. Artwork © Sterling Ruby