11 November 2022–25 November 2022

Sterling Ruby in the Ullens Collection: Beyond Boundaries

Curated by Jerome Neutres


This exhibition in Concrete is the very first Sterling Ruby Exhibition in the Middle East.

Starts 11 November 2022

Ends 25 November 2022

Venue Concrete

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Pushing the boundaries between artistic mediums like no other contemporary artist, Sterling Ruby’s art practice demonstrates that it is not the medium which defines the artist, but his vision and statement. Since his work was notably remarked in the solo show “SUPERMAX” in 2008 at the Museum of Contemporary art of Los Angeles, Sterling Ruby has been developing a singular and very coherent world, through an unusual diversity of media. Ruby is first an inventor of forms, creating a new language dealing with the concepts of chaos, transgression, and a radical diversity. He integrates in his work street art, urban culture, craft, recycling objects, while reinterpreting the legacy of the conceptual art, as well as the abstract expressionism. Ruby embodies in that sense the synthesis of the American evolutions in art those last decades. An American society divided between the mixed feelings of decline vs domination, wealth and recession, violence and peace movements. Using hard and soft materials, vaporous and shocking colors, flat and thick forms, Ruby questions the issues of the paradoxical America.

Our show is built around an extraordinary polyptych of Ruby’s signature spray paintings, the legendary SP paintings. Sterling Ruby discovered first the aerosol painting when he was younger as the medium for the graffiti art he enjoyed seeing on the walls of California. The artist will remember this technic to start large scale “expressionists” paintings in 2007. In a sense, through this Spray-painting series, Sterling Ruby reinvented Rothko’s work using aerosol as the right medium for a XXIst Century painting made in Los Angeles. Those vibrant paintings, looking like expansive fields of colors, are truly hypnotizing. In a time the art debate is dealing a lot with the concept of immersive art experience, it is meaningful to highlight the immersive dimension of those works when they are painted on very large scale canvases. The extra-large polyptych SP217 we present here, made of 5 large canvases totalizing some 30 meters length, is perhaps the most immersive spray painting of Ruby, recalling for that immersion and the subtility of the color diffusion, the spectacular Waterlilies installation by Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie, in Paris.

Sterling Ruby was born in 1972, holds American and Dutch citizenship, and lives and works in
Los Angeles. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Ruby’s sculpture DOUBLE CANDLE (2018) is installed permanently at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. Exhibitions include DROPPA BLOCKA, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2013); STOVES, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris (2015); Belvedere, Vienna (2016); Ceramics, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (2018, traveled to Museum of Arts and Design, New York); and Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2019–20, traveled to Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston). In 2014 he participated in the Gwangju Biennale, Taipei Triennale, and Whitney Biennial. S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. was included in the Costume Institute’s survey of American fashion, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2022).

Ruby was named the first artist-in-residence for Berggruen Arts & Culture as the institution renovates the Palazzo Diedo in Venice, for which Ruby will produce a multiyear, site-specific installation, A Project in Four Acts, culminating in an exhibition in 2024. A forthcoming solo exhibition of Ruby’s work will take place at Concrete at Alserkal Avenue, Dubai in November 2022.

This exhibition in Concrete happens to be the very first one of Sterling Ruby in the Middle East.

Opening Hours: 10AM-7PM
Location: Concrete
Free Entrance

Exhibition Tours

4PM | 12-19 November