Robert Lee Morris Gallery


Man holding up black and red painting


1952 – Born in New York City to parents of German extraction.
1972 -1975. Attends the School of Visual Arts, New York City.
1972 -1996. Studio in New York.
1996 – Present. Studios in Milan and Paris.

While attending the School of Visual Arts, Ruhs begins his explorations as an artist in New York City in the Seventies – when visually there is a movement to bring back the basics of creation in various media and expose the process of creation in action as much as the results of finished works. In these years Ruhs quickly moves beyond paper and paint as a medium for expression.

He begins his first series of sculptures inspired by the wood discarded in the streets next to his studio on lower Broadway. Discards of various shapes and sizes become favored materials for him. Old wood is cut, scraped, carved, painted over and burned to give a new surface and shape that carries a deep, metaphorical weight. While still wood, and recognized, we see the passage of time reflected in these new processes that the wooden “Boxes” have undergone. These initial “Boxes” of the Eighties will go on to create the template of future work and the artist’s relationship to other materials.

Ruhs strong ability to bring out the expressive potential of structure, of materials and of color allows him to successfully cross the usual boundaries between the three dimensions of sculpture and the two dimensions of painting; the surfaces of paper, wood or canvas and the blurring of reality between abstraction and representation.

This exploration of process and its expression will lead to several aesthetic issues with which Ruhs still deals. Light in movement – in process – and light at rest on the surface of a work reveals another layer of process in time.
Materials and light might move – materials and light might remain at rest. Their process of growth and dissolution interrupted and redirected by the artist as partner and revealer of their own internal process, not his.

The directness of this dialogue between the artist and his materials leads to Ruhs’ ability to use anything as material and adapt any technique to his imaginative process.

The result of his art is that the formal discipline and mastery of his skills as an artist is reflected in the mystery of the process of time and space on objects that he reveals to us in each piece of his work.

I met Kris around the time I opened Artwear at 28 East 74th Street in Manhattan in 1977. I visited his East village studio and was impressed with his tribal energy, his furious and extravagant activity that consumed the entire space.

I asked him to put together a collection of ebony jewelry for the gallery and he went way behind the call of duty. The group he developed for Artwear was spectacular, and I fell hard for it, buying quite a few pieces for my private collection. These gorgeous and very soft and wearable bracelets are completely hand made, every single piece carved and shaped by Kris, and then insanely bound together with waxed linen cord. The pieces are in perfect shape and I am thrilld to offer them here in my Artwear store. 

If you want to know more about this remarkable man, visit his website at and see this waiting for you there:


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