04 February 2011

Friday Inspiration: Joseph Cornell

Grand Hotel de la Boule-d'Or, early 1950s, Dallas Museum of Art

Untitled (Dovecote, American Gothic) c. 1954-1956, The Robert Lerhman Art Trust

Untitled (Caravaggio Boy), c. 1950, private collection

Today I headed over to the Museum of Fine Arts new American wing for some badly needed visual stimulation. I wandered around a corner on the 3rd floor and was met with four works by Joseph Cornell. They literally took my breath away. I have never actually seen his work in person. I think my face was so close to the glass that I fogged it up. 

I was introduced to Cornell's work as an undergrad, and it was one of those moments where I thought "How could I have not known about him?" He has been a source of fascination and inspiration ever since.

Cornell tamed the chaos of the universe. He collected and ordered fragments of the everyday, working his strange alchemy to create something from nothing.  Much of his work has an underlying grid structure and each element is connected. Cornell created exquisitely self contained worlds within his boxes and assemblages. Although they were carefully composed, Cornell always left something unsaid. That is the beauty of his work.

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