A modern art experience – Le Paisano


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Unique museum stands out as a downtown San Antonio gem

The main entrance to Ruby City. Laura Thevaos / The Paisano

Approaching from the outside, Ruby City stands out from other archaics bbuildings in downtown San Antonio. It is a burnt red color with large geometric walls, towering above the ground like a stationary, hovering ship.

Ruby City was conceived and founded by art collector Linda Pace, who lived from 1945 to 2007. His inspiration for architecture came after waking up from a dream one night; a sparkling crimson building appeared to Linda in her sleep, then, using colored pencils, she sketched the fanciful image and shared it with a world famous architect Sir David Adjaye OBE.

This $ 16 million art museum opened on October 13, 2019, but soon closed due to the pandemic; the museum reopened over the summer. Since Ruby City is open again, Strict and careful procedures are taken to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Masks are mandatory at the entrance, safety distances of six feet are encouraged and capacity is capped at 50%. There are a lot of amazing works of art on display in the museum, including on a large scale ppaintings, sculptures, video film experience and life-size exhibits. There is also museum associates who walk around and are available to give information information about the works and explain the meaning and history behind them. One of the most popular pieces in the collection is from Rachel Whitereed. This work is made up of eight white shelves that appear to be upside down, with divets and ridges etched into the plaster.

“It’s basically a cast of books. You can see that all of these books were on one bookshelf and she throws negative space. You can see some of them on the left a imprint of pages. In some cases the pages were decaying or older. This artist is very well known for doing this stuff. She once started a literal house. Her too designed the Holocaust Museum in Vienna, which also has to do with books. But he has to do with empty shelves, because of all the books that were burned during the Holocaust, ”explained one of the museum’s associates.

Another eye-catching piece is a bronze sculpture of a woman lying on a block of wood, her hair in braided hair and her eyes closed. This work is by artist Wangechi Mutu and is titled “The Second Dreamer”.

“This bust plays on some really common historical tropes. As you can see, it is not a bust that portrays Western beauty ideals, like other European busts. This rejects this idealized beauty and elevates a different kind of beauty, ”explained the museum associate.

Another work that has a lot of meaning behind it is that of artist Glenn Ligon entitled “Stranger in the Village”. It’s a large-scale work done with layers of shimmering charcoal dust, which reveals a text titled “Stranger in the Village” by author James Baldwin, detailing an experience he had on a trip to Leukerbad. Bains, Switzerland. He was the only black man people there had ever seen, and he refers in this passage to racism and rage. he lived there. Ligon chose this piece as a commentary on modernity culture, being himself a black. The words slowly reveal themselves as viewers gaze at the artwork.

All in all, Ruby City is an amazing place to visit and there are many more works to see. The museum is open to the public Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance to the museum is free. Walk-ins will be welcomed as as long as the capacity limit has not been respected; reservations are encouraged and can be made at rubycity.org or by calling 210-227-8400.

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