Sterling Ruby (American, b.1972) was born on an American military base in Germany, and was raised in New Freedom, PA. After working in construction for several years, he attended the Pennsylvania School of Art & Design. Ruby then went on to receive a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, where he was a teaching assistant for artist Mike Kelley (American, 1954–2012). Ruby works in a variety of media, including ceramic, painting, collage, urethane sculpture, and video. Heavily influenced by the punk movement, as well as Graffiti and Street Art, the artist’s works are often intentionally marked up and defaced.

Through examining the most marginalized members of society, Ruby seeks to expose the cultural mechanisms of control that underlie contemporary life. In 2008, his massive installation Supermax was first shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Design Center. For this show, Ruby referenced American maximum security prisons through aerosol paintings, collages, and massive geometric sculptures made of Formica, urethane, and brass, as well as soft sculptures in the form of blood drops.

Ruby has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China; The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, PA; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN; the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, Russia; the Saatchi Gallery in London, UK; and MACRO in Rome, Italy; among others. His work is also part of the permanent collection of institutions worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, NY; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; the Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, WA; and the Tate Collection in London, UK. His work was also featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Ruby lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Timeline

1972
Born in Bitburg, Germany.
1992–1996
Pennsylvania School of Art & Design, Lancaster, PA
2000–2002
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, BFA
2003–2005
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, MFA

Exhibitions

2013
Contemporary Future: To Invent, Create and Imagine the Future, CAB Art Center, Brussels, Belgium
2013
The Gesture and the Sign, White Cube, São Paulo, Brazil
2013
Black Cake, Team Gallery, New York, NY
2013
Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Ghent, Belgium (solo)
2013
SOFT WORK, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy (solo)
2013
CHRON II, Fondazione MEMMO, Rome, Italy (solo)
2013
Sterling Ruby, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea (solo)
2013
EXHM, Hauser & Wirth London, England (solo)
2012
Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (solo)
2012
SOFT WORK, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France (solo)
2012
SOFT WORK, Centre D’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
2012
California, Charles Riva Collection, Brussels, Belgium
2012
Crossing Mirrors, Rosenblum Collection & Friends, Paris, France
2012
Americas, Modern Collections, London, UK
2012
Cellblock, curated by Robert Hobbs, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
2012
Spring Fever, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY
2012
The Mash Up: Collage from the 1930’s to present, L&M Arts, Los Angeles, CA
2012
Painting Factory, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Ca (cat.)
2012
Phantom Limb: : Approaches to Painting Today, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
2012
Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection, Fundacion Banco Santander, Madrid, Spain (cat.)
2011
American Exuberance, Rubell Family Collection, Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, FL (cat.)
2011
VAMPIRE, The Pace Gallery, Beijing, China (solo)
2011
Sterling Ruby & Lucio Fontana, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
2011
I AM NOT FREE BECAUSE I CAN BE EXPLODED ANYTIME, Sprüth/Magers, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2011
PAINTINGS, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (cat.) (solo)
2011
Structure & Absence, White Cube, London, UK (cat.)
2011
New Works in Ceramics, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Tokyo
2011
Soft Machines, The Pace Gallery, New York, NY
2011
George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
2011
The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
2011
At Capacity, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL
2011
Silence and Time, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
2011
The Roller Shutter Project, Art Production Fund & The New Museum, New York, NY
2011
Dystopia, CAPC Musee D’Art Contemporain De Bourdeaux, Bourdeaux, France
2011
Lustwarande 2011-Blemishes, Park De Oude Warande, Museum De Pont, Tilburg, Netherlands
2011
New York Minute, curated by Kathy Grayson, The Garage: Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia
2011
California Dreamin’-Myths Legends of Los Angeles, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France
2010
Aftermath, Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
2010
Painting Extravaganza, Cardi Black Box, Milan, Italy
2010
50 Years at Pace, The Pace Gallery, New York, NY (cat.)
2010
Rive Gauche/Rive Droite, Marc Jancou Contemporary, Paris, France (cat.)
2010
Endless Bummer/Surf Elsewhere, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA
2010
Permanent Mimesis: An Exhibition on Realism and Simulation, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino, Italy (cat.)
2010
Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960’s, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio,Texas (cat.)
2010
Permanent Trouble: Art from the Collection Kopp Munich, East German Art Forum Gallery, Regensburg, Germany (cat.)
2010
Metal Works, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2010
ASHTRAYS, Galerie Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels, Belgium (cat.) (solo)
2010
New Works,Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2010
2TRAPS, The Pace Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2009
Robert Mapplethorpe/Sterling Ruby, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (cat.)
2009
The Masturbators, Foxy Production, New York, NY (solo)
2009
Beg, Borrow, and Steal, Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, FL (cat.)
2009
Why Painting Now?, Blondeau Fine Art Services, Geneva, Switzerland
2009
New Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2009
New York Minute, curated by Kathy Grayson, produced by the Depart Foundation, Macro Future Museum, Rome, Italy (cat.)
2009
Works on View, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY
2009
Second Nature, The Valentine-Adelson Collection at the Hammer Museum, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
2009
Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom (cat.)
2009
Five, Baibakov Art Projects, Red October Chocolate Factory, Moscow, Russia
2009
Modern Mondays: An Evening with Sterling Ruby, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2008
Dirt on Delight, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (cat.)
2008
Spectrum Ripper, Sprüth/Magers, London, United Kingdom (solo)
2008
Grid Ripper, Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy (solo)
2008
Zen Ripper, Galleria Emi Fontana, Milan, Italy (solo)
2008
Supermax 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (cat.) (solo)
2008
Kiln Works, Metro Pictures Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2008
Chron, The Drawing Center, New York, NY (cat.) (solo)
2008
Begin Again Right Back Here, curated by B.Wurtz, White Columns, New York, NY
2008
If You Destroy the Image You Destroy the Thing Itself, Curated by Solveig Ovstebo & Steinar Sekkingstad, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (cat.)
2008
Substraction, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
2008
Skat Players, Vilma Gold, London, United Kingdom
2008
Stray Alchemists, Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (cat.)
2007
POST ROSE, curated by Sterling Ruby, Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin, Germany
2007
Stuff: International Contemporary Art from the Collection of Burt Aaron, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI
2007
Seattle Art Museum at 75, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
2007
I Want to Believe, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Switzerland
2007
Mixed Signals, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, NY
2007
Paintings & Benches, Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2007
Slasher Posters & Pillow Works, Bernier/Eliades, Athens, Greece (solo)
2007
Superoverpass, Foxy Production, New York, NY (solo)
2007
Killing the Recondite, Metro Pictures, New York, NY (solo)
2006
Interior Designer, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2006
Recombines, Galleria Emi Fontana, Milan, Italy (solo)
2006
Supermax 2006, Galerie Christian Nagel, Köln, Germany (solo)
2006
Red Eye: L.A. Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, FL (cat.)
2006
California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (cat.)
2006
Behind the Pedestal, Jonathan Viner, London, United Kingdom
2006
Back From the End of the Earth, Galerie Ben Kaufmann, Berlin, Germany
2006
Into Black, Western Bridge, Seattle, WA
2006
LA Trash and Treasure, Miliken Galerie, Stockholm, Sweden
2005
Having New Eyes, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO
2005
T1-Turin Triennial: The Pantagruel Syndrome, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino, Italy (cat.)
2005
Voiceovers, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA
2005
5 X U, Team Gallery, New York, NY
2005
Supermax 2005, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2005
This Range, Guild & Greyshkul, New York, NY (solo)
2005
Adjoining The Voids: Sterling Ruby & Kirsten Stoltmann, Sister, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
2005
New Work, Foxy Production, New York, NY (solo)
2005
Resonance, Netherlands Media Art Institute/Montevideo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2005
GEO, Foxy Production, New York, NY
2004
Face-Off, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, NY
2004
21st Kasseler Documentary Film and Video Festival, Filmladen Kassel, Kassel, Germany
2004
Chicago Expérimental, Les Musees de Strasbourg-Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France
2004
Tapestry from an Asteroid, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2004
Interior Burnout, 1R Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
2004
Disintegrating Identities Morph into One Solid Rainbow, Foxy Production, New York, NY (solo)
2003
Blinky 2, Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom
2003
Behind the Pedestal, Bower Gallery, San Antonio, TX
2003
Hysterical Pastoral, The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, IL
2003
Fiction In Video, WORM, Nighttown Theater, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Public Collections

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, Dallas, TX
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA