Ruben & Isabel Toledo: Labor of Love

Honoring Detroit’s history of industry, modernization and the DIA’s vast permanent collection, artists Ruben and Isabel Toledo present a series of new works in Labor of Love. For this groundbreaking exhibition the Toledo’s mined the DIA’s world-class collection as inspiration for the creation of new sculptures, paintings, drawings, and installations. From Ancient Egypt through to contemporary art, visitors will delight in discovering the original Toledo creations placed near the works that inspired their conception. This unprecedented creative intervention into the DIA galleries offers visitors a unique experience of discovery, as the Toledo works will be interspersed across numerous collection galleries.

Labor of Love also celebrates the Toledo’s world of two highly talented artists working in synergy. A Muse to her husband’s sculpture, painting and illustration, Isabel Toledo conceives of shapes and structures for her fashion designs. Ruben’s surreal view of life brings humor and unconventionality to his wife’s industrial world. Their combined work over the past 30 years both inside and outside the art world has resulted in a highly personal visual language with a diverse and cohesive rhythm. Together the couple created costumes and scenography for the Broadway musical After Midnight (2014) for which Isabel Toledo received a Tony nomination for costume design. Most recently the couple reimagined George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker for the Miami City Ballet and Music Center in Los Angeles.

In addition to the gallery interventions, the Toledo’s will envision an immersive exhibition experience for the DIA’s temporary exhibition galleries. The cumulative experience of a large exhibition and the discovery of works in a variety of galleries will introduce visitors to the power and poetry of the Toledo’s collaborative working methods. The Detroit community will also be engaged by an original creation made in partnership with a local non-profit organization.

#LaborOfLoveDetroit #LaborDeAmorDetroit



Ruben & Isabel Toledo: Labor of Love is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Lead support has been generously provided by the Marjorie & Maxwell Jospey Foundation and the Matilda Wilson Fund.

Additional funding has been provided by Joanne Danto and Arnold Weingarden, Ethan and Gretchen Davidson, Nicole and Stephen Eisenberg, Alan and Sue Ellen Kaufman, Sonia and Keith Pomeroy, Quicken Loans Community Fund, and Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co.

Additional support is contributed by Nordstrom.


Image: Synthetic Cloud, 2018, Isabel Toledo and Ruben Toledo, Cuban-American; nylon. Courtesy of the artists and the Toledo Studio.​