Casey Ruble


Khalik Allah, Annie Berman, Sophie Blackall, Nathan Fitch, Brian Foo, Joy Garnett, Suzanne Goldenberg, Nina Katchadorian, Paul McDonough, Lawrence Mesich, Ron Milewicz, Amy Park,Maddalena Poletta, Casey Ruble, Ken Schles, Terreform ONE


The 1900 Tenderloin District riot erupted on New York’s West Side during one of the worst heat waves in the city’s history. Three nights prior to the outbreak of violence, Arthur Harris, a black man who had moved to the mixed-race Tenderloin district from Virginia, was drinking in a saloon on Eighth Avenue and 41st Street. When his girlfriend arrived to retrieve him, Robert Thorpe, a white plainclothes police officer, attempted to arrest her for solicitation. Not realizing Thorpe was an officer, Harris believed his girlfriend was being attacked and defended her, stabbing the officer with a knife. Thorpe died of his injuries the following day. The officer’s body was taken to his home on Ninth Avenue and 36th Street, where a large crowd formed. Around 11 p.m. that night, an intoxicated Irish woman began screaming, “The black bastes ought to be kilt!” and the mob brutally attacked a black teenager who happened to be walking by. White residents poured out of tenements in the area, looking for black victims to attack, and violence soon engulfed the entire neighborhood. Scores of black residents were severely beaten as police stood by idly or even encouraged the violence.

Today, the block where the riot began is home to a couple of bodegas, a liquor store, and a Mexican restaurant, the latter of which is depicted in this collage. The title of the piece is taken from a New-York Tribune article describing the attack.



Casey Ruble was raised on a ranch in eastern Montana. After receiving her BA from Smith College in 1995, she lived in New Orleans and Chicago, moving to New York in 1998 and completing her MFA at Hunter College in 2002. She has taught painting and drawing at Fordham University since 2001 and has worked as a freelance critic for Art in America since 2006, supplementing it with freelance copyediting for W. W. Norton’s Professional Books division (psychology books).

Ruble is represented by Foley Gallery in New York City. Recent solo shows includeEverything That Rises (at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit), Disarmed (at Foley Gallery, New York), and The Offing (at the Foundation Gallery, New Orleans). Her work is included in the 2013 Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker. A recipient of a 2015 grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and a 2013 fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, Ruble currently resides in a village overlooking the Delaware River in New Jersey.