Ralph Rucci

Born 1957, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; lives New York City

Ralph Rucci was born in 1957 in Philadelphia. He attended Temple University, studying Philosophy and Literature. In the late 1970s, he moved to New York City and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He began his own line and studio in 1982, eventually opening a showroom on Seventh Avenue.

His ready-to-wear line is called Chado Ralph Rucci, chado being the name of a very deliberate, ritualized Japanese tea ceremony of 331 steps. These qualities distinguish Rucci’s approach to fashion as well as artmaking. Rucci has made art his entire career, but recently he began to make visual artwork in earnest for its own sake. The result is striking yet subtle works that enter into a dialogue with contemporary masters such as Richard Serra and Antoni Tàpies, and add to this conversation a tension-filled calm that is perhaps the influence of Japanese aesthetics which are integral to his fashion work. Rucci in fact includes fabric in his artwork, utilizing many of the sewing techniques that he uses in his fashion work.

In 2001, Ralph Rucci was the first American in fifty years to be invited to show his couture line with the Paris Haute Couture collections, where he has shown regularly since. In November of 2004, Roberta Smith, senior art critic of The New York Times, tellingly observed that in Rucci’s work “the influence of art and architecture is overt.” A solo exhibition of his work has been held at the Broadbent Gallery at the Kent University Museum, 2006, an important retrospective titled “Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness” opened to wide critical acclaim at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, and recently, in 2008, his work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum.

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