Ruby City announces 2021 acquisitions

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Ruby City announces 2021 acquisitions
Arturo Herrera, Bang, 2015. Mixed media, 13 x 19 x 12 in., Edition 1/15. © Arturo Herrera. Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City, San Antonio, Texas.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- Ruby City announced the acquisition of 23 works by 11 artists in 2021. The new acquisitions include works by internationally acclaimed artists as well as those with strong ties to San Antonio and the state of Texas. Together these gifts and purchases deepen the collection’s BIPOC and Latin American perspective, which was fostered by founder Linda Pace in her lifetime. In addition to works by artists previously represented in the Linda Pace Foundation’s collection, such as Jesse Amado, Arturo Herrera, Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, Chris Ofili, and Deborah Roberts, the year’s acquisitions include the first works by Sonia Boyce, Hew Locke, Rick Lowe, Milagros de la Torre and Carrie Mae Weems to enter the collection.

“By welcoming these works into the collection, the Foundation continues to manifest Pace’s vision to represent the communities it serves with contemporary art that aims to inform and illuminate the world in which we live today,” said Elyse Gonzales, director of Ruby City.

Ruby City recently acquired 13 works by Arturo Herrera. Generously gifted by the artist, this impressive grouping represents the longstanding, multifaceted practice of Herrera and is the result of the enduring relationship between the artist and the Linda Pace Foundation. The gifts include the editioned mixed media work Bang (2015), as well as lithographs, etchings and cyanotypes that date from the past twenty years. Many of these works will be featured in a solo exhibition of the artist’s work to open in March 2022 at Ruby City.

Rick Lowe’s abstract painting, Untitled (2021), is the first work by Lowe to join the permanent collection. This large-scale painting, whose imagery is an abstracted derivation of domino game patterns, alludes to both personal and socio-political concerns. Lowe has created several series of works which overtly and indirectly address race, community and systemic inequities; Untitled (2021) relates to his concentrated investigation of the game of dominoes as a signifier of community.

The recently acquired work by Austin-based artist Deborah Roberts, Cock-a-doodle-doo (2020), is currently on view in Roberts’ solo exhibition, I’m, at MCA Denver. The mixed media collage on canvas depicts a young boy attempting to appear older and physically larger. He stands with clenched fists, defiantly confronting the viewer with his confident--perhaps cocky--posture. Roberts’s images of African American youths reveal the complex circumstances of Black identity today—in this case the “double standard” faced by young Black men who are expected to grow up sooner than their White counterparts, yet their seeming maturity only feeds longstanding racist stereotypes of their dangerousness.

The most recent acquisition is the sculpture Were you seen? I don’t know. Does it matter? (2003) by Jesse Amado, a gift from Rosina Yue and Bert Lies. For this series Amado breaks down text, in this instance, the phrase “Were you seen? I don’t know. Does it matter?” into stacks of individual letters, adhering each to the other so that the words are unrecognizable. In so doing, Amado transforms text into a new visual form–mysterious, inviting interpretation and sustained looking. The work reflects Amado’s sustained investigation of conceptual themes that take inspiration from the personal yet are representative of societal values, trends and politics. Amado has a long history with the Foundation and is an acclaimed artist having shown extensively both in and outside Texas. Adding this work to the 14 already in the collection by him, including another from this series, gives further depth to his practice for Ruby City audiences.

The Rivington Place Portfolio (2006) is a generous gift from Lee Anthony and J. Travis Capps, Jr. The portfolio consists of editioned works by international artists including Sonia Boyce, Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, Hew Locke, Chris Ofili and Carrie Mae Weems. The portfolio includes photography, traditional printmaking and collage. This extraordinary gift of works fills gaps in the Foundation’s holdings for three significant artists: Boyce, Weems, and Locke. The balance of prints gives further rich context to artists’ works already in the Collection and purchased by Pace during her lifetime: Julien, Ligon and Ofili.

Recollection #1 (2020) by New York-based artist Milagros de la Torre is one in a series comprising security mirrors etched with constellations signifying important dates to the artist and her practice. Prompting viewers to see themselves among the etched patterns, Recollection #1 effectively provokes issues related to identity, power and control. de la Torre’s work reflects her extensive research into systems of politics and authority, including practices such as surveillance and racial profiling. This work is etched with the constellation of Linda Pace’s birthday. de la Torre highlights Pace’s birthdate as a means of recognizing the important nature of the artist’s residency period at Artpace, the renowned residency program who shares the same founder as Ruby City.

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