Sterling Ruby’s multifaceted practice encompasses sculpture, ceramics, installation, textiles, clothing, painting, collage, photography, and video. Featuring nearly 30 large- and moderately-scaled sculptures spanning his career, Sterling Ruby: Sculpture will be the first museum exhibition to survey the great variety of sculptural work of one the most significant contemporary artists working today.
From poured polyurethane works to monumental ceramic collages weighing hundreds of pounds to soft sculptures incorporating inexpensive fabrics that the artist often dyes himself, to Minimalist compositions of urethane and formica, Ruby’s works cross traditional divisions between media and often straddle the line between high and low, fine art and craft, luxury goods and common necessities. Incorporating a range of modernist strategies to make expressive works of art with materials typically associated with utility and affordability, Ruby’s work addresses a range of issues—from societal to personal—and re-examines notions of beauty and value.
Many of Ruby’s sculptures derive from remnants of studio projects, like broken ceramics; bits of cardboard used to protect the floor when pouring urethane, painting, and dying fabrics; or scraps of product packaging from everyday life. These castoff objects laden with their own histories—their previous uses and relative significance to society—have, over time and through their use in the studio, accrued personal significance for Ruby. This recognition of the value of each thing for what it is, what it was, and what it can be distinguishes his sculptural practice.
Sterling Ruby: Sculpture brings together important examples of Ruby’s work from the impressive holdings of local collections with loans from the artist’s studio to provide a broad ranging and emblematic survey of his work in three dimensions. The sculptures occupy virtually every interior space of the Nasher, as well as the terrace and garden. Seductive in their colors, textures, and sensual forms, the works become troubling or confounding upon closer inspection and deeper consideration.
Organized by the Nasher Sculpture Center, Sterling Ruby: Sculpture will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue featuring a new essay on Ruby’s work by Nasher Chief Curator, and curator of the exhibition, Jed Morse.
Sterling Ruby: Sculpture is made possible by major support from the Dallas Art Fair Foundation and Gagosian. Additional support is provided by The Hartland & Mackie Family Foundation, Xavier Hufkens, Sprüth Magers, Christen and Derek Wilson, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.