Join us as we visit the internationally praised, multifaceted artist Sterling Ruby in his Los Angeles studio. In this video, you can watch the American artist at work and hear about his approach to art: “I like the idea that what I’m doing is an abstraction of something I am experiencing in real life, but in all actuality, I think it’s my visual description of it.”
After high school, Ruby got a job in construction, which made him miserable, and he decided to apply to art school: “I did that for four years, and then I saw that Bruce Nauman exhibit at MoMA and it just changed everything. I realized there was something that was slightly past the 1970s that really made a lot of sense.” The exhibition seemed to put into perspective Ruby’s experiences from growing up in a farming community in Pennsylvania, where most men were very narrowminded and condescending: “I wanted to do what Bruce Nauman was doing, I wanted to work with materials that were already existing… but I also wanted to work with my hands, I wanted to make things and I wanted to push these things together.” In continuation of this, Ruby’s ambition became to make work that dealt with the psychological experiences of his past as well as his future.
“I think I’m an all-around artist.” Ruby chooses specific mediums because they “translate the idea more than another medium would.” His work ethic, as well as his personality, has made him a highly productive artist, and he believes that he can identify how successful a work is by how manic it feels: “I’m a kind of manic, paranoid person, and working at a bunch of different mediums, and always having a place to go helps.”
Sterling Ruby (b. 1972) is an American artist, who moves freely between ceramics, painting, sculpture collage and video. A strong physical dimension is associated with the development of his works: very large canvases, enormous sculptures created with drip techniques and experimental ceramics created in a sequence of several firings. Ruby has expressed strong opposition to minimalism’s rejection of individuality and the craftsmanship in art, and as a response, his works often appear scratched, camouflaged, dirty or splattered. His work can be found in international collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Tate Modern in London. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Sterling Ruby was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his studio in Los Angeles, California in January 2016.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018