Installation view, Sterling Ruby, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2020. Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio, Los Angeles. Photo by Mel Taing. © Sterling Ruby
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 culture, institutions, and labor. Spanning more than two decades of the artist’s career, the exhibition looks to the origins and development of his practice, through mediums ranging from lesser-known drawings and sculptures to his renowned ceramics and paintings.
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 U.S. culture and the coding of power and violence. Craft is central to his inquiry, as he explores California’s radical ceramics history and traditions of Amish quilt making, shaped by his upbringing in Pennsylvania Dutch country. The process of combining disparate elements is central to Ruby’s material reclamations, which serve as a form of autobiographical and cultural archeology. 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.
Sterling Ruby is co-presented with Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, and is 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 features 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, 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.