Art Galleries

David S. Rubin: Drawing as Daily Ritual

Saturday, October 2, 2021 - 12:00pm to Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 4:00pm

West Gallery


To view this exhibition, please fill out the appointment form for the West Gallery

David S. Rubin 

The CSUN Art Galleries are proud to present DAVID S. RUBIN: DRAWING AS DAILY RITUAL.

David S. Rubin’s practice of devoting time everyday to drawing is informed by his experience as an art historian, critic, and curator. The process of drawing spontaneously, commonly known as automatism, intrigued him during his time as an art history graduate student at Harvard University. Through Rubin’s studies he became deeply familiar with the art of the Surrealist Roberto Matta Echaurren and the Abstract Expressionists William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock. As part of his research he interviewed Ethel Baziotes (the artist’s widow), Lee Krasner (Pollock’s wife and a major artist in her own right), Motherwell, and the British-born Surrealist Gordon Onslow Ford. During his forty-year career as a museum curator, Rubin met numerous artists who influenced his practice; foremost among them Martha Alf, Claire Falkenstein, and Al Held. Rubin saw the work of so many others as well, such as Ross Bleckner, Fred Tomaselli, and John Torreano, whose imagery inspired him greatly.

Rubin’s artistic inclinations were also cultivated by his late mother, Ruth Rubin. When he was a UCLA student in the early 1970s, Rubin’s mother founded a needlepoint store in Tarzana and hired him as artist-in-residence. In that capacity, Rubin designed Judaica, commissions such as dog portraits, and his own compositions.

Rubin’s stylistic vocabulary developed in the early 2000s, when he was serving as Curator of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, his life revolved around a very loving community of visual artists, one of whom bought him a sketchbook with better paper than he had been working on. It was at that point that Rubin got serious about his art, and made drawing an ongoing practice. He was fascinated by the culture and beauty of Mardi Gras beads, which were traditionally placed at grave sites to ward off evil spirits. When Rubin draws small circles repetitively he feels as though he is stringing beads through the universe, moving along different trajectories and interweaving them. He also recognizes the connection to his mother’s needlepoint, which involves working module-to-module. Ultimately, Rubin believes that his process is a mechanism for daily communing with the cosmos.

According to the philosopher Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), “Only he who possesses a personal religion, an original view of infinity, can be an artist.” Rubin considers his drawn worlds to be representations of the idea that divinity is everywhere, a concept that was validated for him by the poet Allen Ginsberg’s exclamation that “everything is holy” and the artist Wallace Berman’s credo that “Art is Love is God.” His allover matrices can be considered unions of scientific and spiritual interpretations of the universe, in that they join together the concepts that everything is energy and everything is divine. Rubin calls the new drawings “Pearls of Wisdom” because he considers the human quest for knowledge to be among the noblest undertakings that we instinctively pursue. According to Rubin, "We are given the Tree of Life at birth, but we have to build the Tree of Knowledge from the ground up."

Rubin's daily date drawings were inspired by the date paintings of On Kawara. They began as an activity that Rubin would enjoy during periodic vacations in Amsterdam, where he would draw everyday in the cafes. After Rubin returned to Los Angeles following forty years of working at museums, contemporary art centers, and college galleries, he decided to make this an ongoing practice, only working from home. The photographic tableaus, which he posts daily on Instagram, were inspired by a similar project undertaken by the late Martha Alf, who would photograph and post daily arrangements of fruits and flowers. To view his Instagram postings please visit @davidsrubinart.

David S. Rubin has been exhibiting his automatic drawings since 2003, when he was invited to participate in Drawing Conclusions: Work by Artist-Critics and Drawing Conclusions II: Work by Artist-Critics, at New York Arts Gallery, New York. In 2005, he was in the five-person exhibition, Cursive, at the Tenri Cultural Institute, New York and in 2006, he was represented in the exhibition draw, paper, scissors at Domestic Setting, a contemporary art space in Los Angeles. In 2007, Rubin participated in “Cursive” Mixed Media Art Exchange Exhibition at Artist Commune, Hong Kong. He has had solo exhibitions at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas (2007), Barrister’s Gallery, New Orleans (2010), High Wire Arts, San Antonio, (2012), the R Gallery (2016), Dock Space Gallery, San Antonio (2017), and the California State University Northridge Art Galleries (2021). Rubin has also participated in group exhibitions at Galeria Ortiz, San Antonio (2007), Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery, Loyola University, New Orleans (2008), Bihl Haus Arts, San Antonio (2008-16), Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio (2009), Feature, Inc., New York (2010), Talento Bilingue de Houston (2011), E.V.A. Gallery, San Antonio (2014), Cinnabar Gallery, San Antonio (2016), Gallery 20/20, San Antonio (2017), and the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University (2018). Rubin's art is in the collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University, and in numerous private collections.

Rubin has been an active figure in the contemporary arts field for over forty years. Currently he is a regular contributor to the online journal Visual Art Source. From 2006-2014 he served as The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art. From 2000-2006, Rubin was Curator of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; from 1994-99, he was Curator of Twentieth Century Art at Phoenix Art Museum; from 1990-94 he served as Associate Director/Chief Curator of Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (now MOCA Cleveland); prior positions include Director of the Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, PA; Director of Exhibitions, San Francisco Art Institute and Adjunct Curator, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Director, Santa Monica College Art Gallery; Assistant Director, Galleries of the Claremont Colleges and Assistant Professor of Art History, Scripps College, Claremont, CA.

Since 1980, Rubin has been a member of the International Association of Art Critics. In 1996 he served as U.S. Commissioner for the Cuenca Bienal of Painting in Ecuador. From 2001-2007, he served as an international juror for the Florence Biennale.

Rubin holds an A.B. in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.A. in Art History from Harvard University. He was born June 18, 1949 in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in the San Fernando Valley.

In May, 2017, Rubin returned to Los Angeles to continue his work as an independent curator, writer, and artist.

A major art exhibition space in the San Fernando Valley, the CSUN Art Galleries are located just a few miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The Galleries have mounted over 500 exhibitions since 1980 with yearly gallery attendance averaging 25,000 visitors. Exhibitions are funded in part by the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication and Instructionally Related Activities Committee.

To make an appointment, email or call (818) 677-2156. Press images are available upon request; email .

Image credit: Pearls of Wisdom (3), 2020, Color pens on Bristol Vellum paper, 24 x 19 in.

Due to Covid-19, masks are required and appointments must be made in advance or you will not be admitted.

There is a CSU Vaccine mandate starting September 30th.

Everyone who attends the gallery starting September 30 and later must have proof of vaccination. Visitors must have their physical card or a digital copy with them to show at the door. For Children under the age of 12 (because they are ineligible for the vaccine) they must present proof of a negative covid-19 test from their school within the week of attending the gallery or proof of a negative test within 72 hours of attending the gallery. Children under 5 will not be permitted.

Here are the types of masks that are acceptable:

On the day you are attending, you MUST fill out the Covid screening form at this link:
You will then receive a confirmation email. In order to be admitted, you MUST forward your confirmation email to Erika Ostrander.