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Thomas Ruff

Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art

Go to a European art school or a large group show, and you’ll see them everywhere: large photographs of expressionless faces. Thomas Ruff is not solely responsible for this phenomenon of course; he emerged in the ’80s as part of a group of artists doing related work, including Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer, and Andreas Gursky, all of whom studied under Bernd and Hilda Becher at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. For some reason, though, among these artists, who together have shifted the very vocabulary of contemporary art, Ruff seems to have made the biggest impact.

Bringing together the most important of Ruff’s works from the late ’70s to the present, this large retrospective provided a good sense of his art’s diversity, with its portraits; photos from newspapers; images of stars, buildings, and landscapes; and a series of recent black and white pictures that feature two human faces blended

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