Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joseph Cornell



Joseph Cornell
Untitled. 1942
Private Collection, New York


What was I doing in New York in 1980? I have no idea. I was living in Santa Monica and cannot, for the life of me, remember what I would have brought me to New York late that year.

Anyway, there I was, and my mission was to see the Edward Hopper: The Art and The Artist show at the Whitney. Which I did see and, with the exception of his watercolors and early commercial illustration, was sort of disappointed in. Mostly because the oils seemed rather lifeless and were shown up by more vivid colored plates that I'd seen before the originals. But who knows? These experiences depend so much on subjective variables like mood and what we eat for breakfast and expectation.

In any event, I made my way to the Museum of Modern Art where I stumbled into the Joseph Cornell Retrospective. It was like visiting distant but familiar planets and being shown the crown jewels. I had never seen anything like his work and was utterly charmed, and irrevocably changed by his magic.

If you have QuickTime, you can explore a very cool exhibit of his work at this Smithsonian link.



(Another great Hans Namuth photo. 1971)
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