Fantasy Pic #19: Ruff

I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.

Fantasy Art Collection pick #19: Thomas Ruff

I’ve finally thought of 2 things that are wrong with NYC. #1: rats, #2: you can’t see stars. There’s no solution for #1, but there is one for the stars problem. I just purchased this 8.5 x 6 foot photograph by Thomas Ruff, hung it on my brick wall, and it looks incredible. It’s a little strange looking sideways instead of up, but living here takes compromise, so it works for me.


Ok, I’ve actually never seen it in person, but recently my friend and I were talking about the depressing state of a recent art fair, and I asked him to name one thing he saw that blew his mind. He picked Ruff’s Sterne (Stars) photographs, and as he was describing them to me I got choked up and decided to buy one on the spot.

I’m not much of a photography collector because I like to see the hand of the artist, and always lean towards drawing, painting and sculpture. But Sterne, as the third photograph in my collection, is very similar to my very first fantasy purchase from Misrach’s On the Beach series. If either of these photographs were paintings, they’d be terrible so I wouldn’t have noticed them. It’s the fact that they are photographs of the existing world that make me love them so much.


I like feeling very small in the big picture of the universe sometimes, and knowing that something greater exists or I wouldn’t be here. When I look at these pictures I’m reminded of it and it puts things into perspective.

This art purchase is in memory of my grandfather who died at the age of 92 last month. He was a writer and artist, and a few months before he died he gave me a book called “How It Ends: From You to the Universe.” The cover looks a lot like my new Ruff, but I haven’t read the book because the topic freaks me out. But I think he’d definitely love this picture. If he hadn’t lived, neither would I. Thank you so much James C.G. Conniff.

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