Ihave never met the curator Douglas Blau, but after two visits to the exhibit called “The Naturalist Gathers” that he mounted at the SteinGladstone Gallery in November I feel that I have spent some time inside his brain. This astonishingly peculiar and haunting exhibition was entirely made up of small-sized photographs and other kinds of mechanical reproductions. There were two floors of— literally hundreds of—these images, each one in its own black frame. The show was about gathering images, and this is in and of itself a conventional subject these days, nearly three decades after Andy Warhol started silkscreening photographs and two decades after Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” became the downtown bible. Blau is very much of his time and place. He’s a product of the unholy marriage of Andy and Walter. But he’s reflected on his parentage with such...

 
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