Art Alchemy Studio

Mixed Media Art by Chaska Peacock

Friday, October 12, 2007

Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination:

The father of Assemblage, my inspiration!

Wonderful opportunity for West Coast folks to see an exhibit of 4 decades of Joseph Cornell's work. I am seriously considering going to see it as I am going to be attending a conference nearby.

Box constructions, collages and ephemera. Through Jan. 6. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., San Francisco. (415) 357-4000,

Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was a American artist who produced fascinating works of art in boxes that contained sets of everyday objects that were carefully positioned behind glass. His work transformed the commonplace into the extraordinary.

Cornell's boxes were also, as he recalled in the late '60s, an almost inevitable by-product of his scavenging habits. "I thought, everything can be used in a lifetime, can't it, and went on walking," he remarked to an interviewer. "I'd scarcely gone two blocks when I came to another shop window full of boxes, all kinds. ... Halfway home on the train that night, I thought of the compasses and boxes, and it occurred to me to put the two together."

Using things as commonplace - at least in his day - as small clock faces, marbles, old star maps and colored sand, Cornell could pack his boxes with cosmic references and metaphysical overtones, seemingly without strain.

He did not achieve great fame in his life, but is now acknowledged as one of the great artists of the 20th century. Cornell died at home on December 29, 1972; he was cremated and then buried in a small, wooden box.


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