What’s the art of balancing work and family? In a new film from the ART21 New York Close Up series, married artists Daniel Gordon and Ruby Sky Stiler candidly discuss—from their home in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn—the complex professional and personal dynamics of bringing a baby into their already busy lives. Gordon’s and Stiler’s studios are a study in contrasts. Gordon’s studio in DUMBO is overflowing with color and materials, the floor strewn with paper scraps from which he creates elaborate still lifes to photograph. Stiler’s studio in Gownaus is more orderly, her work table a puzzle of Styrofoam shards from which she constructs sculptures and casts elegant bas-reliefs referencing antiquity. Gordon and Stiler met in graduate school and, like many hard-working professionals in their thirties, the decision to have a baby was a difficult leap into the unknown. For Stiler, the transition from taking care of baby Gus to working in the studio was trying: feelings of satisfaction at going back to work hit up against feelings of guilt at not being at home with her newborn. For Gordon, life after the baby meant learning how to maximize his studio time within a set 9 to 5 schedule, while home became an unexpected release from the burdens of art. “Now having Gus, it’s such a pleasure and a relief to have some other thing that’s very important that pulls you away from all that stuff and pulls you away from your head,” says Gordon. “You can’t obsess and take care of Gus. You have to obsess about Gus, and then you can obsess about the other stuff.” Featuring work by Gordon included in the exhibition Screen Selections and Still Lifes (2014) at Wallspace, and work by Stiler included in the exhibition Circumstance (2015) at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.
Daniel Gordon (b. 1980, Boston, MA; raised in San Francisco, California, USA) & Ruby Sky Stiler (b. 1979, Portland, Maine) live and work in Brooklyn, New York.
CREDITS | ART21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Producer & Editor: RAVA Films. Cinematography: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Nick Ravich & Ava Wiland. Design & Graphics: CRUX Design & Open. Artwork: Daniel Gordon & Ruby Sky Stiler. Music: True Distinction Music. Thanks: Janine Foeller, Gus Gordon Stiler, & Wallspace. An ART21 Workshop Production. © ART21, Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.
ART21 New York Close Up is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.