ICA/Boston presents the first comprehensive museum survey for American artist Sterling Ruby.

The exhibition features more than 70 works that demonstrate the relationship between material transformation in Ruby’s practice and the rapid evolution of American culture, institutions, and labor. Spanning more than two decades of the artist’s career, the exhibition features an array of works created in various mediums, from his renowned ceramics and paintings to lesser-known drawings and sculptures.

Since his earliest works, Ruby has investigated the role of the artist as an outsider. Critiquing the structures of modernism and traditional institutions, Ruby addresses the repressed underpinnings of American culture and the coding of power and violence, employing a range of imagery from the American flag to prison architecture and graffiti. Craft is central to his inquiry, informed by his upbringing in Pennsylvania Dutch country and working in Los Angeles, as he explores hand-based processes from Amish quilt-making to California’s radical ceramics tradition. Organized loosely by chronology and medium, Sterling Ruby considers the artist’s explorations of these themes across the many materials and forms he has utilized throughout his practice, including many innovations. 

Sterling Ruby is co-presented with Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, and will be accompanied by an illustrated scholarly catalogue edited by Alex Gartenfeld and Eva Respini, with a conversation between Ruby and Isabelle Graw. Published with DelMonico Prestel, the catalogue will feature essays that consider Ruby’s work amidst the contemporary art production and visual culture of the last 30 years.

Sterling Ruby (American/Dutch, b. 1972, Bitburg, Germany) is a leading contemporary artist whose work has been presented in solo exhibitions throughout the globe. Ruby received his B.F.A. in 2002 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and his M.F.A. in 2005 from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.