Ruby City. Photo: Dror Baldinger. Courtesy of Ruby City and Adjaye Associates.

Linda Pace’s Ruby City Opens in San Antonio

Ruby City, the contemporary art center that was dreamed up by the late artist and philanthropist Linda Pace, opened in San Antonio, Texas, on October 13. Pace envisioned a ruby-red home for her art collection shortly before she died of breast cancer in 2007. Designed by David Adjaye, the 14,472-square-foot museum houses more than nine hundred paintings, sculptures, installations, and video works and is free to the public. Inaugurating the space are three exhibitions: “Waking Dream, “Isaac Julien: Playtime,” and “Jewels in the Concrete,” which will be on view until 2022.

In order to honor the museum’s benefactor and create a venue that would be in dialogue with the city, Adjaye drew inspiration from the architecture of San Antonio’s sixteenth-century Spanish Missions, precolonial American history, and Mesoamerican culture. To achieve the red color that Pace desired for the complex, the architect used precast concrete imbued with red for the building’s exterior that came from Mexico City. The center sits on a larger campus, which includes Chris Park, a public green space named in memory of Pace’s son, who passed away at twenty-four years of age, and an exhibition space called Studio.

Pace, an heiress of Pace Foods, studied art at Trinity University and exhibited her work, which included drawings and large assemblages, at the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, among other institutions. In 1993, she founded Artpace, a nonprofit residency program that has hosted artists such as Jesse Amado, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Annette Messager and has worked with various guest curators, including Okwui Enwezor, Susanne Ghez, Sun Jung Kim, Cuauhtémoc Medina, and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.