California-based artist Sterling Ruby has teamed up with the Museum of Cycladic Art to sprinkle a selection of his boundary-pushing ceramics among the ancient artefacts of the museum’s permanent trove. The exciting collaboration, supported by the Gagosian Gallery, follows a similar alliance with the headline-grabbing international artist Ai Weiwei back in 2016.
Ruby spreads his artistic energies across many mediums (sculpture, drawing, collage, painting, video) but ceramics are his heartland, thanks to a childhood spent on a Pennsylvanian farm surrounded by redware pottery. Far from traditional though, Ruby’s hybrid and high-impact pieces upend most of the rules of the craft. Both alien and childlike, they often flaunt debris from his previous kiln misfires (think of them as the ceramicist’s answer to an Abstract Expressionist canvas!).
At the Cycladic, you’ll see a variety of his hand-wrought forms - from smaller utilitarian objects, like mortars or ashtrays, to larger figurative, floral and totemic shapes - in “conversation” with representative examples of figurines and vases, tools, weapons, and pottery from all phases of the Cycladic island culture that flourished in the central Aegean during the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC).
Says the artist:
“Presented next to the artefacts of the Museum of Cycladic Art, the ceramics both explore the evolution of the medium and its possibilities and reflect on a modern notion of archaeology.”