Sterling Ruby & Fai Khadra: Conversations in Contemporary Art

Sterling Ruby & Fai Khadra: Conversations in Contemporary Art

I n the latest of our virtual panel discussions, artist Sterling Ruby and Contemporary Curated guest curator Fai Khadra sat down with Phaidon Commissioning Editor Michele Robbechi and Sotheby’s Ashkan Baghestani to explore the creative process, the importance of method and materials and to celebrate different perspectives on contemporary art in 2020.

Sterling Ruby offered unique insight into his own practice, and the challenges and opportunities of studio life in Los Angeles. The conversation took a journey through subjects such as rebelling against traditional conservative American values when growing up, discovering hardcore bands and the associated counter-culture, the recent US election and civic statues and monuments, this lively conversation delved into that perennial source of great fascination and intrigue, the lives of artists.

Sterling Ruby, 2019.

Event partner Phaidon published a monograph of the artist’s work in as part of their Contemporary Artists series, which this year celebrates 25 years of publication, and it is with this milestone at the forefront of the conversation that Michele appeared on the panel, having edited the survey on Ruby’s work, in close collaboration with the artist.

“There was no art where I grew up, only craft”
Sterling Ruby

At the helm of Contemporary Curated this year, collector and creative director Fai Khadra talked passionately about his own collecting journey and placed this iteration of the sale in the context of the wider art world, beginning with Sterling Ruby (he owns work by the artist and had to cut a hole in the roof of his LA home in order to install the piece), and talks eloquently on the art world icons that came before him, such as Donald Judd and Joseph Beuys.

“I love that your studio feels so alive. It's compartmetalised by medium, but each one informs the other. It feels like great space in which to experiment”
– Fai Khadra to Sterling Ruby

As a collector, Khadra is incredibly hands-on, frequently visiting artists in their studios to immerse himself in the creative process and dialogue. His international approach and focus mirrors that of the Sotheby’s sale, and of Phaidon’s book series, allowing viewers the opportunity to field questions to the panel, who took part from Los Angeles and London.

Fai Khadra, 2020.

Sotheby’s Head of the Contemporary Curated sale series, Ashkan Baghestani married the threads of the conversation together against the backdrop of the auction, which runs from 17-24 November, and includes works by Ed Ruscha, Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Josef Albers, Keith Haring and Sharif Waked, among others. You can explore the full digital catalogue here.

To celebrate 25 years of the Contemporary Artist series, Phaidon is offering Sotheby's readers 25% off any title from the series, which comprises 85 books and is described by Robecchi as “an exhibition on paper”. The series charts a quarter of a century of recent art history, with publications on artists such as Cecily Brown, Jonas Wood, Kerry James Marshall, Frank Stella and Sterling Ruby. To explore the series further, use the code CAS25 at

The event was produced in association with Intelligence Squared.

Contemporary Art

About the Author

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top