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
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.
Sterling Ruby and Sam Orlofsky
Frieze London 2019 Online Viewing Room
Sterling Ruby sits down in his studio with Gagosian director Sam Orlofsky to discuss the Online Viewing Room collaboration on the occasion of Frieze London 2019, as well as his influences and the history of his work. Highlighting Ruby’s multidisciplinary approach to art making, this online event features seven artworks from pivotal moments in his trajectory, alongside a range of art historical influences that have shaped his practice over time.
To subscribe for updates about Online Viewing Room presentations, visit gagosianviewingroom.com.
Still of Sterling Ruby in conversation with Sam Orlofsky
ACTS + TABLE
Thursday, November 7, 2019, 6:15pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London
Join Gagosian for a tour of Sterling Ruby: ACTS + TABLE, currently on view at Britannia Street, London, led by Serena Cattaneo Adorno, Gagosian director, and Alessandro Rabottini, director of Miart, International Fair of Modern and Contemporary Art. The works in the show lay out Ruby’s critique of the authoritarian, exclusionary ideological underpinnings of Minimalism. He begins with familiar shapes valued by the Minimalists—simple tables and rectilinear blocks—but subverts them by defacing their smooth surfaces and exposing their physical means of production. The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Installation view, Sterling Ruby: ACTS + TABLE, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, October 2–December 14, 2019. Artwork © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Lucy Dawkins
West Bund Art & Design 2019
November 8–10, 2019, booth A121
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design 2019, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, Joe Bradley, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Grotjahn, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Robert Indiana, Jeff Koons, Joan Mitchell, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Mark Tansey, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, and Jonas Wood, among others.
To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at email@example.com.
Joe Bradley, Daylight, 2019 © Joe Bradley
Through February 2, 2020
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Since his earliest works, Sterling Ruby has investigated the role of the artist as an outsider. Critiquing the structures of modernism and traditional institutions, he addresses the repressed underpinnings of contemporary culture and the coding of power and violence. This exhibition features more than one hundred works in an array of mediums spanning more than two decades of his practice. This show will travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, in February.
Sterling Ruby, ACTS/WS ROLLIN, 2011, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami © Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer
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