Collector’s Edition: Chris Perez


In this new series, “Collector’s Edition,” we ask people about their personal art collections—from the first piece of art they ever bought to what they want to acquire next. Last time we spoke to Paul Bright, and this time we reached out to Chris Perez, owner of Ratio 3 in San Francisco. Chris previously worked as the curatorial assistant for contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Continue reading to learn about what Chris collects.


What was the first piece of art you bought or acquired?

The first piece of “real” art that I acquired was “Work No. 88,” (1995) by Martin Creed. The work is a piece of paper crumbled into a ball. It was a gift from some very good friends as a college graduation present. I am huge Martin Creed fan, and admire the humor, simplicity and humility of his work.


What art do you have in your personal collection now?

I have a good amount of works, but I honestly forget what I have because most of it is in storage. Of course I have work by the gallery artists, such as Barry McGee, Miriam Böhm, Mitzi Pederson, Takeshi Murata and others. The hang at home tends to be sparse. At one point I had no art on the walls, and friends coming over had a hard time believing I was an art dealer. I think I needed a visual break when at home. The work I currently have up includes Ryan McGinley, Eileen Quinlan, Matthew Brannon, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kara Walker, and Nobuyoshi Araki. The Araki is probably one of his nastiest images, and I love it. My ex forbid me to hang it in the house. Once he moved out, up it went! I have a fantastic photo by Brian Brophy, who documents the true nature of San Francisco. Brian’s got a great eye, and I always look forward to seeing his images. I also recently added a seminal work by Buck Ellison, “Every Good Boy Does Fine” (2008). Buck is an artist new to the gallery, and is certainly one to watch!


What is your favorite piece in your collection?

I would say my favorite piece is “Bloody Nose” (1998) by Collier Schorr. I first saw this image when it was shown in 1999 at 303 Gallery. I was a poor art student in San Francisco at that time. The subtle violence and sensuality captivated me. The little drip of blood seeping out the wrestler’s nose, his sweaty face—how can you not love it?! I thought about that photo for years. In 2008, I was a lot more flush with cash, and inquired about available work from 303. When they brought out that photo my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe after all those years it was still available—and for me! I got the last in the edition, and was so thankful they let me purchase it. I consider this piece one of her most important and iconic works. This brings to mind the advice that I give collectors: buy the best, most important work you can afford.


What art would you like to add to your collection?

A Thomas Demand or Les Krims photograph! Polar opposites but I enjoy them both.

Do you collect anything besides art?

Nothing too seriously. I try to live a minimal life. I buy a lot of books, and like having them around. You could say I collect music. I don’t buy CDs or vinyl anymore, but have gigabytes of MP3s. I’m obsessive about music. I like to get something new everyday if I can.

What did you collect as a child?

As a child, I collected maps of Disneyland! I would pore over those maps for hours, planning my imaginary trips to the happiest place on Earth! As I got older, I started to collect books, and then records. I was also mad for Condé Nast Traveler magazine. I would read them cover to cover, and then arrange them in elaborate stacks. I guess I couldn’t wait to grow up and explore the world!

Images, in order of appearance:  “Every Good Boy Does Fine” by Buck Ellison, 2008; “Bloody Nose” by Collier Schorr, 1998; “Areal VI” by Miriam Böhm, 2009; Chris Perez with Ryan McGinley’s “Lying Lamb,” photo by Damon Way, 2013

Title artwork by Taylor McKimens


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