CLOSEUP Nancy Rubins, Airplane Parts and Building, A Large Growth for San Diego, inSITE94

INSITE is pleased to present a new CLOSEUP with artist Nancy Rubins, who was interviewed in July of 2021 about her work included in inSITE94, Airplane Parts and Building, A Large Growth for San Diego.

Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Airplane Parts and Building, A Large Growth for San Diego, was a site-specific installation made with discarded airplane parts. The work grew from the floor of the interior space of the Museum’s downtown San Diego location, piercing the building’s south-facing windows and overhanging the pedestrian sidewalk.

“I think a lot about the energy that is in everything, that produces stuff, that pushes civilizations forward, that pushes invention forward, that pushes people to do really stupid things and also makes stuff in the air; dust and big galaxies move around, and it's energy.”

Nancy Rubins, July 2021.

“We think of things as being permanent, but I don't know if anything really is—you know, maybe the pyramids, but they're changing too.”

Nancy Rubins, July 2021.

“…thinking about this metal…before it was mined, it was in the earth. And before it was in the earth, it was globs of metals and things flying around in dust and outer space and even planets and asteroids and things were hitting each other, and the earth was formed... So, I think about this metal, and it seems's become this odd shape that we've made for reasons of our own. And then it goes on to be something else.”

Nancy Rubins, July 2021.

“It may just be my eye, but I look for the abstract in everything.”

Nancy Rubins, July 2021.


Nancy Rubins is an American artist who creates sculptures and drawings. In her sculpture practice, she transforms industrial objects—such as cast animals, playground toys, airplane parts, and boats—as building blocks. Following the lifecycle of her chosen materials, Rubins hones the formal qualities of these discrete components. Held together by stainless steel wiring, the tension among these components investigate a static moment in Rubins’s works that serves as both a testament to their monumentality, as well as the possibility of ever-changing plasticity. As a kind of palimpsest, Rubins’s work reminds viewers that what appears to be solid, and static is in fact in a constant state of change. In her drawing practice, Rubins investigates the possibility of three-dimensionality in a two-dimensional practice by applying physical strokes using graphite pencil on paper. Through the act of leaving these traces, her layered drawings evoke tactility, sheen, movement, and an endless sense of spatial depth.

Rubins’s work is in public collections including MoMA, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and FRAC Bourgogne, France. Her outdoor sculptures are on display at institutions including Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin; MOCA, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and Université Paris Diderot. Rubins lives and works in Topanga, California.

@nancyrubinsstudio @mcasandiego @gagosian @yayoi_shionohiri

#NancyRubins #contemporaryart #sculpture

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