Sterling Ruby - Under the Influence New York Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I don’t know if I ever think that things are beautiful. But I do think that things hold something that I’m very attracted to. I like to think about all of my work as a type of collage. A collage represents… illicit merger. Things not belonging together, absolutely making sense together. That’s the way I perceive everything that I do. That to me is actually kind of beautiful and desirable. This notion of things that are on the periphery and would never have anything to do with one another, now kind of joining one another and creating something else. That actually seems very successful and beautiful to me.”
    (Ruby quoted in H.M. Post, “’I LIKE THE FACT THAT ART CAN’T BE PROVEN (Sterling Ruby on beauty – The Utopia Parkway Files, part 4),” Utopia Parkway, December 10, 2009)

    Among the luminaries of a new generation of contemporary artists, Sterling Ruby has established his unique artistic and innovative signature in relatively short time. Ruby’s versatile and impressive practice ranges from sculpture to ceramic, to video art, to large-scale graffitied canvases. Connecting his fascination with art historical movements to contemporary social structures, Ruby creates anachronistic artwork with pounding immediacy. Having received widespread critical acclaim, Ruby has been named “one of the most interesting artists to emerge in this century.” (R. Smith, “Art in Review: Sterling Ruby,” New York Times, March 21, 2008).

    The present lot, Supermax Wall, refers to the highest security detention prisons. As a reformatory, the Supermax system relies heavily on physical detainment and the concept of individual time. Using his own interpretation of the Supermax system, Ruby has been developing an environment where attempts at expression are seen as nothing more than signs of criminality. Ruby's concept of Supermax refers to the opposition between larger social structures and individual desire, addressing primal, expressive, aggressive, and sexual undertones. A tension is thus generated between the formal, structural, and geometric aspects of the work and its more amorphous, messy qualities.


Supermax Wall

acrylic glass, wood, lacquer and spray paint
99 1/2 x 207 x 48 in. (252.7 x 525.8 x 121.9 cm)

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $43,750

Under the Influence

8 March 2012
New York