Overall: 12 3/4 in x 8 in x 4 1/4 in; 32.4 cm x 20.3 cm x 10.8 cm
Gift of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
A largely self-taught and reclusively artist and experimental filmmaker, Joseph Cornell was an early pioneer of assemblage, cohering found objects into compositions that often took the form of shadow boxes. Many of his boxes were meant to be interactive, designed to amuse and delight those who inspired and to whom he would often send the work.
Like many of his Surrealist contemporaries, Cornell created powerful visual poetics from the quotidian. Cornell was not interested in refuse or detritus, however. His often nostalgic boxes were inspired by his Christian Science beliefs and affinity for Hollywood starlets, and created by assembling once precious objects mined from New York thrift and bookstores, transformed through layering and juxtaposition.