Joseph Cornell, 1967


More Surrealism (sort of) from 1967. Joseph Cornell is a catalogue for an exhibition selected and presented by Diane Waldman at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1967. The book is one of a number of new and very welcome additions from the Guggenheim Museum to the stock of scanned books at the Internet Archive. Old art books and catalogues often feature black-and-white reproductions but that drawback doesn’t invalidate the usefulness of their textual content. The Museum’s own pages for the archived books may be browsed here.


Cockatoo: Keepsake Parakeet (1949–1953).

For more on the Magus of Utopia Parkway I’d suggest the BBC’s documentary film Joseph Cornell: Worlds in a Box (1991) but only if you can find a copy since I’ve not seen it online anywhere. That’s a shame because it’s an excellent introduction to Cornell’s life and work, with the added bonus of commentary from Susan Sontag and Cornell’s film collaborators Stan Brakhage and Rudolph Burckhardt. There’s also a surprise appearance from Tony Curtis who was friends with the artist and who reads from his diaries.


Medici Slot Machine (1942).

Elsewhere, Ubuweb has Cornell’s short films which proceed from the radical re-editing of Rose Hobart (1936) to more lyrical works such as Nymphlight (1957). And I’ve mentioned this before but it’s always worth another look: Americana Fantastica, the edition of Charles Henry Ford’s View magazine edited and illustrated by Cornell in 1943.


Medici Princess (1952).

Previously on { feuilleton }
Rose Hobart by Joseph Cornell
View: The Modern Magazine

6 thoughts on “Joseph Cornell, 1967”

  1. Yes, Dave McKean has imitated his style a couple of times. I can understand that: for a while I didn’t want to see more of Cornell’s boxes since they were too much like things I’d have loved to do myself. But he’d done them far better than anyone else would manage without devoting the same amount of years collecting objects and chopping up magazines.

    There’s a link to Cornell and Max Ernst I might have noted: it was a viewing of some of Ernst’s engraving collages that inspired Cornell to first try similar work of his own before he transferred the collage technique to the material world.

  2. I love Cornell’s work, and have enjoyed seeing it up close many times, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    He definitely influenced McKean, who, in turn, has gone on to influence others.

  3. I have copy of this catalogue which was for a major retrospective of Cornell’s work.

    It is quite a small book, and of course if a similar exhibition is held today of any reasonably known artist the catalogue would be a huge full colour effort running to hundreds of pages.

    I recorded the excellent BBC’s Joseph Cornell: Worlds in a Box (1991) when it was transmitted. It is doubtful if this and many other interesting documentaries will ever be released on DVD.

    Tony Curtis made Cornell-esque boxes which Cornell did not like as they were too much of a pastiche.

    Thanks for the information on the Guggenheim’s archive.

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