Dean Ruck "Brancouchi"
photos by Katy Anderson
An inaugural True North artist with his “reflective” 2014 installation “Ourglass” (and now a member of the True North Team), Dean Ruck—named 2014 Artist of the Year by Art League Houston, along with Dan Havel, as Havel Ruck Projects—has always had a fascination with cycles that things and people go through. He says, "I observe flow. I've also had an interest in 'heavy trash day' and what people dispose of and how it can be of value to others, or how it can be repurposed in a creative way.” Inspired by this theme, with a nod to Constantin Brâncuși’s Endless Column series, “Brancouchi” is a totem of discarded furnishings he collected along the roadsides of Houston, standing as a symbol of the detritus of our disposable society. Ruck’s paint patterns applied to the surfaces of the pieces reference recognizable works and pop culture, including Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, with a dash of “The Partridge Family” and a playful twist on the couch and matching canvas.
Originally from Hamden, Connecticut, Ruck has lived and worked in Houston since 1987. He attended South France Studio Program, Cleveland Institute of Art, Lacoste, France, and earned his BFA from University of Colorado and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. Ruck’s works are in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and the City of Houston, including “Big Bubble,” in Buffalo Bayou, and “Torrent”—a 20’ wall made from local scrap metal, created for the City’s Green Resource Center. Installations in 2022 include “Vernoculus” for the eccentric art bar, notsuoH, in Houston’s historic Market Square, and “Succurro Square” for Succurro Retreat Center in New York State. His art has been exhibited at Kemp Center for the Arts, Wichita Falls, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston, DiverseWorks, Houston, Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Rudolph Poissant Gallery, Houston, Arlington Museum of Art and Project Row Houses, Houston, to name a few.
Ruck and Havel were also awarded 2008 Artists of the Year and the National Recognition to the Best in Public Art Projects by AIA Houston and were inducted into the Houston Artist Hall of Fame, Houston Fine Arts Fair, in 2015. Of their many public installations, most Houstonites remember the traffic-stopping “Inversion” on Montrose Boulevard—turning two dilapidated cottages seemingly inside out.