From October 3, 2018, through March 17, 2019, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) will present Sterling Ruby: Ceramics, the artist's first solo museum show in New York City. The exhibition will focus on Sterling Ruby's large ceramic works, showcasing over twenty fired and glazed clay basins and other hand-built objects.
"As an institution dedicated to championing artists who work in and expand the field of craft, MAD is a natural home for Sterling Ruby's first solo institutional exhibition," said Shannon R. Stratton, MAD's William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator. "Ruby's interdisciplinary and transparent exploration of craft materials and methodologies exemplifies the Museum's mission. His work both inspires and challenges, prompting audiences to question modern definitions not only of craft but of contemporary art practice more generally."
Sculptures in clay have long held a fascinating and primary position in Ruby's broader studio work. Though he has no interest in separating himself from the history of his materials, Ruby upends tradition by creating hybrid ceramic forms that are simultaneously familiar and alien. In a process heavily indebted to craft, he manipulates clay by hand and machine to arrive at basins or vessel-like containers that often hold the debris of previous kiln misfires. Akin to an Abstract Expressionist canvas, the clay provides a responsive, tactile surface that records Ruby's aggressive gestures. The finish on each piece is as important as its construction: thick glazes accumulate in deep glossy pools and drip from every form. Like a reverse archaeologist, Ruby embeds the results of his experiments in clay within the final art object.