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Tom Gunning

traditional connoisseur of rarities. He resembles a gleaner, finding value in what has been left behind, or a beachcomber seizing on a lucky find. Cornell preserved what others would discard. In contrast to the symbolist aesthete, such as J. K. Huysmans’ Des Esseintes, who surrounded himself with the unique and exotic and insulated himself from the vulgarity of a mass-produced culture, Cornell gathered the commonplace, celebrating mass-produced objects and processes of mechanical reproduction. Cornell’s biographer Deborah Solomon has pointed out that his montages of

in Surrealism and film after 1945