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Mixed media mobile by Sterling Ruby

Sterling Ruby

SCALE (MS5903), 2016
Steel and mixed media
61h x 35w x 31d in
© Sterling Ruby Photo by Robert Wedemeyer Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio

Sterling Ruby seems to enjoy pricking the membrane of esoterica and fabulousness that shrouds the contemporary-art world. Despite his ascension to its highest echelons, he chafes at the shibboleths and not- so-subtle snobbery of the fi ckle international art scene. Prodigious output across a wide range of media; a refusal to choose between spectacle and sincerity; outsize ambition; phenomenal commercial success attained early in a career—all of these tend to raise eyebrows among the art world’s traditional gatekeepers. But Ruby takes it all cum grano salis. He’s just doing his thing. Consider the artist’s vast studio in Vernon, California, a small industrial city of warehouses, factories, and the occasional adult-entertainment superstore, just fi ve miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The complex sits on four acres, with roughly 122,000 square feet of indoor space. Ruby purchased the property six years ago and spent three years on renovations, which included the replacement of 116 skylights. There are massive studios dedicated to work in various media, along with viewing rooms and storage and support facilities (e.g., woodworking and welding). Just off the entry to the compound, Ruby has a 10,000-square-foot gallery with a 40-foot ceiling, where he can study his work and install exhibition mock-ups at full scale.

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