Sterling Ruby - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Thursday, March 6, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

  • Catalogue Essay

    “It’s interesting to see how beauty is represented and how diferent takes on beauty can be so dichotomous and diferent. I like to think about art as being similar to poetry: it can’t be proven.” - Sterling Ruby

    Sterling Ruby’s works are visually charged indicators and allegories for the burdens that afflict contemporary existence, serving as a visual expression of his interest in psychology, industry, urban culture and American society. A range of experiences—including time spent working in construction, a brief career as a professional skateboarder and a stint as a teaching assistant for Mike Kelley—all serve to inform his multifaceted output. Indeed, his background is as diverse and unique as his artistic style is today. The artist’s oeuvre channels the conflicts prevalent throughout contemporary society but also more specifically focuses on the gap between individual impulse and the restrictions that abound due to mechanisms of social control. His multidimensional practice exploits limitations of form, scale and materials, a process which allows for the manipulation of abject or marginalized subject matter.

    Alabaster SR10-2, 2011, superbly communicates the artist’s concern with such contrasts. A patent rejection of the rigidity of minimal art, Alabaster is a quintessential example of Ruby’s attempt to breach the confines of societal structure. Frequently working in a form that simultaneously refutes and redefines the manifestoes which established the high schools of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, Ruby here flagrantly repudiates Minimalism’s repressive and rigid line. Ruby’s drips of acrylic paint that drenchingly stain the blank canvas reflect a similar blemish on society—a plague of normalized repression, conformity and aggression. With paint applied in an expressionistic fervor, the piece visually articulates Ruby’s struggle with the minimalist aim to represent objects with no personification, while simultaneously revealing a tension between decoration and defacement. As the artist himself states, "Everything I do holds a kind of gesture in it. For me, it’s this kind of dramatic gesture. A truncated gesture. It’s like an expression that was at one point very fervent and then it just gets kind of stopped." (Sterling Ruby, in an interview with Hans-Maarten in Utopia Parkway, 10 December 2009.)


Alabaster SR10-2

acrylic, in artist's frame
69 1/2 x 69 1/2 in. (176.5 x 176.5 cm.)

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $293,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner, Contemporary
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Alex Heminway, Design
+ 1 212 940 1268

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 6 March 2014 7pm