Gallery Sterling Ruby – Work Wear
As adventurous, outspoken and bold artists can be in their work, they are usually quite conservative in the way they dress themselves: the artist wears black. There are artists who adapt a uniform such as Pablo Picasso wearing a Breton shirt. Jeff Koons looks more like a business man wearing tailored suits. Yayoi Kusama’s oeuvre is largely based on the polka dot motif and she dresses accordingly wearing bold coloured garments with the circle pattern. More eccentric is, Grayson Perry, the British artist known for his cross-dressing and appearing in public as his female alter-ego Claire.
In 2008, the artist Sterling Ruby started to design his own work wear clothes to be worn in his studio. His first ‘collection’ consisted of a button down shirt and a pair of jean-style pants. At their London gallery, Sprüth Magers, presents a survey of Ruby’s clothing and textile production ‘Work Wear: Garment and Textile Archive 2008-2016’.
The work-wear collection is a natural progression of Ruby’s large canvas collages for which he uses left over fabric scraps, clothing and denims. The surfaces are bleached, scratched or splattered with paint. (image from an exhibition at White Cube London)
The collection – consisting of coats, shirts, pants, poncho and laundry bags – are not displayed on racks but suspended on the wall. The clothes seems to me like an attractive, artistic version of the Dutch clothing brand G-Star RAW known for their raw, unwashed, untreated denim collections.
The gallery is located in the heart of London’s luxury shopping district. Bond Street is just around the corner. Inside the gallery I observed a shopper carrying a Gucci and Burberry bag wondering to step in. She decided not to enter but an Asian woman carrying a Dover Street Market shopping bag did. Guess what the colour of her clothes was? Black.