Los Angeles

Sterling Ruby, STATE, 2019, HD video, black-and-white, sound, 33 minutes 11 seconds.

Sterling Ruby, STATE, 2019, HD video, black-and-white, sound, 33 minutes 11 seconds.

Sterling Ruby

Sprüth Magers | Los Angeles

Skateboarders are doomed to certain forms of ineffable material intelligence. Zipping on a wheeled plank through the cityscape—where any crack in the sidewalk or knob on a public bench can open your skull like an egg—imprints the texture of urbanism onto your bones. 

By now, Sterling Ruby’s former stint as a professional skateboarder is barely a blip in his biography, but the efficacy of his catholic output, and of his ceramic work in particular, has more than a little to do with that embodied, kinetic relationship to the built environment—an antagonistic dance with civic architecture. Texture is Ruby’s language, especially when achieved through alchemies of destruction—the firing of a kiln, the ripping of bleached denim, the trampling of studio waste—so his forays into the slick and the anthropomorphic in “DAMNATION,” his latest solo show at Sprüth Magers in Los Angeles, felt like a

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2019 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.