2007, a one-night-only group exhibition at some upper floor architectural firm in DUMBO. Thomas Allen was asked to be in the group show. Having had the gallery for less than 3 years, I was excited to attend. It was a quick visit...Tom wasn't there and I had a series of events that night. And then I saw it, perched above some books on a long wall.
1000 Flowers Bloomed & A Black Leather Jacket.
55 inches high, 98 in length. Cut paper is a personal passion and this was just exquisite. But who was Casey Ruble? No one seemed to know. Frustrated, I left for the subway platform, but not before I saw this group of people outside, having cigarettes, talking art, leathered up...Casey among them.
Do You Wanna Do a Show Together?
Conversation, studio visit, conversation. This all led to our first exhibition together, Except in Struggle. For whatever reason, the piece I loved in DUMBO was not in our show. But we sold it. Twice. It lives in Maryland now, quite content.
I am on my fourth exhibition with Casey. The current, Red Summer, is up until June 23rd. This group of 47 paintings was completed as part of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Which brings me to why I love Casey. It's the time I know she takes to work with the details, both in content and craft. And she is just so lovely to work with! And did I mention...there is a "limited to 100 copies" catalog to the exhibition with brilliant essays by Casey and Arlene Keizer available here? Well, there is.
What Happened in 1919?!?
The exhibition looks at the bloody year of 1919 on its centennial anniversary. 1919 marked the deadliest period of white-on-black violence in U.S. history, with over thirty race riots — most started by white mobs — breaking out across the nation. The bloodshed led civil-rights activist James Weldon Johnson to dub the period the “Red Summer.”
1919 was also when the Smithsonian Institution began planning its National Portrait Gallery, whose mission has been to “acquire and display portraits of men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States.” Yet all of the subjects in the museum’s works from 1919 are white, and the few with any connection to the racial tensions of the time came down on the wrong side of that history.
Who is Casey?
Casey Ruble received her BA from Smith College in 1995 and her MFA from Hunter College in 2002. She is an Artist in Residence at Fordham University, where she teaches painting and drawing and curates exhibitions for the university galleries. Her work has been shown nationally and abroad, and she has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (2019, 2013), the Warhol Foundation through a residency at PARSEnola (2017), the Smithsonian Institution (2016), and the New Jersey State Council for the Humanities (2015). She resides in New Jersey in a village overlooking the Delaware River.
Open this weekend!
Red Summer is on view through June 23rd, 2019. Foley Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 – 5:30pm and Sunday from 12-5pm. To request images; please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walter Hampden (I), 12 x 12 inches, carbon ink on paper - Michael's favorite