Thomas Struth’s ongoing sequence of photographs of museum galleries and the audiences within them reaches a fortissimo in this recent group, taken in the Prado, Madrid, and the Hermitage, St. Petersburg. Struth uses the mural-scale prints that have become a trope in contemporary art, not least in Germany—he is a peer of Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky, having graduated from the same Kunstakademie Düsseldorf program taught by Bernd and Hilla Becher—and the size and deep color of his images are crucial to their effect: In the museum work in particular (Struth also makes streetscapes and portraits), the photographs show viewers in spaces parallel and equivalent to the spaces in which we viewers ourselves stand and look, making for a rich self-awareness on our part. Often, also, we see the paintings at which the viewers inside Struth’s pictures are looking, and these images provide a third
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