Ruth Aizuss Migdal is a first generation American. She was born in a Jewish Immigrant neighborhood on Chicago’s West side where education and culture were highly valued. She took great advantage of all the cultural opportunities available there. She saw movies of Shakespeare’s plays at the Circle Theatre at Roosevelt Road and Spaulding, movies of operas were at another theatre on Madison and Kedzie Avenues. She was allowed free access to every opera, ballet and theatre performance at the opera house, from her junior year of high school through her education at the Art Institute of Chicago by volunteer work at the concession stands before the performances.
Her education includes a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MFA from the University of Illinois in Champaign, both in Painting and Printmaking. As she turned to sculpture, her classical education enabled her to master a variety of materials. Ruth’s paintings and wood sculptures were abstract until 1971 when she began exploring the female figure. Ruth now works in bronze and steel, creating large abstracted figurative sculptures.
Ruth’s latest bronze sculpture called “Radiating” is influenced by what she learned in making public sculptures. She found herself freer and taking more chances. She likes the bronze to shine brightly. The size and complexity of “Radiating” made wire brushing impractical, so she decided to use gold leaf. This brightened the bronze. Ruth placed gold leaf in the prominent areas to highlight the sculpture. Purdue University North Central, Westville Indiana. She has also added gold leaf to her small bronze sculptures.
Ruth’s sculptures are brazen and bold with frivolity. Her current body of public sculpture continues in the direction of the red dancing lady. These powerful female dancers exemplify their free spirit, joyfulness and perseverance. The large dancing figures express independence, strength and a lust for life. “Whirling Dervish”, and “Here” are prime examples of her red dancing figures — currently located at Douglas Park and Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.
1958: M.F.A., University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
1954: B.F.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Professor of Art, Harold Washington College, 1989 to 1996.
Assoc. Prof., Loop College (Chicago City Colleges), 1984 to 1989.
Assist. Prof., Malcolm X College (Chicago City Colleges), 1969 to 1981.
Lcturer, University of Illinois, Chicago, 1968-1969
Lecturer, Columbia College, 1967-68.
Visiting Artist Lecturer:
April 1988 University of Montana, Missoula, MO.
May 11, 1996 Society of the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture, New York, N.Y.
Art Department Coordinator, City Colleges of Chicago, 1975 to 1987.
Art Department Coordinator, Loop College, 1982 to 1986.
Art Department Coordinator, Harold Washington College, 1990 to 1992.
Radio Reviews,” City Colleges Arts in Review,” WNIB Radio, Chicago, 1981 to 1985.
Twenty four reviews of Chicago Art Exhibits of eight minutes each.
Prizes & Honors:
2014-2016: “Celebrate”, accepted into theSculptfusion exhibition in Michigan City, Indiana
2011; the painting “Dana Revisited” 1962, oil on Linen, donated to the Krannert Art Museum by a collector
2011: Community Art Assistance Program Grant, Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture
2009: Atrom Gallery; Women in the Arts Winner’s Exhibition. Sixth place, International Contest.
1995: Special Assistance Grant from the Illinois Arts Council.
1981: Illinois Arts Council Grant.
1973: Art Institute of Chicago, Juried Chicago Vicinity Exhibit, Pauline PalmerPrize.
1961: Art Institute of Chicago, Juried Chicago Vicinity Exhibit, William Bartel Prize.
1961: Honorable Mention, Old Orchard Annual Art Fair.
1995: The 29th Annual Meeting of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, March 22 – 25, Minneapolis, MN. Hosted by the Department of Art, University of Minnesota.
1994: College Art Association Annual Conference, New York, NY.
1994: Workshop, Second International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, Shloss Furnace National Landmark and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
1993: Workshop, Iron Casting Sponsored by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
1992: College Art Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.
1991: Bronze Workshop, Seven days. Riverdog Foundry, Shimacum, WA.
1989: College Art Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.
1975-91 Board member, Victory Garden Theater. (since 1991, Board Member Emeritus)
1971 Paul Sills: Lights and Special Effects. Story Theater.
1969 Lights and Visuals. Free Theater.
1969 Light Show, Union Station; Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Published Articles and Statements:
1988 “A Statement.” The Creative Woman, Vol. 9, no. 3, p. 31.
1989 “Michiko Itatani: Contemporary Painter: About the Artist,” The Creative Woman, Vol. 10, no. 1, p. 24.
1990 “Sofia Wishkind.” The Creative Woman, Vol. 10, no. 2, p. 35.
1992 Art in America, by David Bourdon, (Sept.) p. 54.
1986 Art Listings, New York Magazine (Jan. 6) p. 81 (Jan. 13) p. 79.
1986 Art Now, New York Gallery Guide (Jan issue) p. 36.
1985 Art Now, New York Gallery Guide (Oct.) p. 45; Dec. pp. 17, 36.
1985 Art Listings, New York Magazine (Oct. 28) p. 180; (Nov. 11), p. 153; (Nov. 18), p. 121; (Nov. 25), p. 129; (Dec. 2), p. 196; (Dec.16), p. 122; (Dec. 23), p. 181.1985 Sunday Art Listings, New York Times, (Oct. 13), p. 22; (Oct. 20), p. 25A; (Oct. 27), p. 25B; (Nov. 3), p. 28; (Nov. 10), p. 22B; (Nov. 17), p. 22B.
1983 “Chicago Artists Expose Themselves” The Reader, (May), Sec. 1, p. 6.
1983 The Herald, Chicago (May 4), pp. 10, 32.
1983 Grey City Journal, Chicago (Apr. 29), p. 4.
1977 “Promising Note Turns Sour at Art Institute of Chicago,” by Alan Artner. Chicago Tribune (Feb. 20).
1976 Review of exhibit at the Viridian Gallery, New York. Arts Magazine (Dec.), p. 41.
1974 Chicago Sun Times (May 14), p. 64.
1973 “Prize Art Sparkles at the Institute,” by Marshall Rosenthal. Chicago Daily News (Mar. 8), p. 28.
1972 Chicago Sun Times (Feb. 27), p. 11.
1968 Chicago Sun Times (May 26), Sec. 3, p. 12.
1964 “Youthful Artists Excellent in Momentum Exhibit.” Chicago American,
1963 “The Chicago Show, Harsh and Pleasant Surprises.” Chicago Tribune (Apr. 21).
1963 “New Exhibit Opens at Michellini’s Gallery.” Evanston Review (Aug. 31), p. 63.1963 “Chicago Show at Museum Wins Praise.” Tocoma News Tribune (Sept. 22).
1962 “New North Shore Gallery.” by Frank Holland. Chicago Sun-Times (Apr. 29), p. 3.1962 “Chicago and Vicinity Exhibit is Best Since 1955,” by Frank Schultz. Chicago Daily News (May 5), p. 18.1961 “Ruth Migdal Paintings Exhibited at Library Club.” Winnetka Talk (Oct. 12).
Chicago Artist’s coalition (Founding member and first Chairperson 1974)
Arts Club of Chicago, 1964 to present.
College Art Association, 1989 to present.
International Sculpture Center, 1989 to present.
Chicago Artist Discussion Group, 1982 -1990.
Womens’ Caucus for Art.
American Women For International Understanding
Chicago Chapter of the International Sculpture Center
Koehnline Museum of Art Symbolism, Myth, and Ritual, 2007