Joseph Cornell: Thinking Outside, Uhh.. Inside [The Box]

 

Joseph Cornell (1903 – 1972): An odd-ball, self-taught artist, who I returned to today, because I am bored with the “idea” of painting, but stoked with the “idea” of using my architectural training to manipulate space through mini-light boxes, translucent puppets and interactive art.

Ignorant, as I am, from lack of a formal artistic training, I didn’t know of Joseph Cornell till my husband, a lover of collage, “dumpster diver”, “hoarder of “found” objects” (much to my wifely annoyance!), and a long time fan of Joseph Cornell, with quite a flair of his own for collages – insisted that we go for his Retrospective at the SFMOMA, which ended early this year. I have to admit that being completely unfamiliar with his work, I didn’t really “get” his curious assemblages and boxed art at first sight, except for his large “portraits” of the Russian ballerina, Tamara Toumanova, which was a mre familiar medium.

Joseph Cornell. Untitled (Celestial Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova). Early 1940s.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (Celestial Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova). Early 1940s.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (Marine Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova). Early 1940s.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (Marine Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova). Early 1940s.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (Tilly Losch). 1935-38.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (Tilly Losch). 1935-38.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (The Hotel Eden). 1945.
Joseph Cornell. Untitled (The Hotel Eden). 1945.

Today, I am fascinated, more than ever, by this renegade and hugely reclusive artist, who by re-thinking the proverbial box, continues to influence art, design, and illustration.

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