A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Artist of the Day – Joseph Cornell

Posted by dorian on August 12, 2009



Cornell, Joseph (1903-72). American sculptor, one of the pioneers and most celebrated exponents of assemblage.

He had no formal training in art and his most characteristic works are his highly distinctive `boxes’. These are simple boxes, usually glass-fronted, in which he arranged surprising collections of photographs or Victorian bric-à-brac in a way that has been said to combine the formal austerity of Constructivism with the lively fantasy of Surrealism. Like Kurt Schwitters he could create poetry from the commonplace. Unlike Schwitters, however, he was fascinated not by refuse, garbage, and the discarded, but by fragments of once beautiful and precious objects, relying on the Surrealist technique of irrational juxtaposition and on the evocation of nostalgia for his appeal (he befriended several members of the Surrealist movement who settled in the USA during the Second World War). Cornell also painted and made Surrealist films. ( WebMuseum, Paris)





for more Cornell, click on box cornell.egypte


12 Responses to “Artist of the Day – Joseph Cornell”


    great job d9.

    these artists of the day posts get a lot of hits and i swear keyboard cat has nothing to do with it.



  2. dorian said

    wish i could lay these out better. ends up looking like a collage most of the time, hard to appreciate each one like that. i think it’s better do only a few at a time with larger images centered, like what you did with your koontz post. that was perfect layout. so what do we give the artistic cats next?

    musician of the day my next post. so many good ones, i don’t know where to start. not touching classical, we’ll leave that to stephanie’s pillowbook. i’ll focus on 20th – 21st century.
    everybody give me your favorites! feel free and do your own musician of the day posts too. i’ll do lennon and mccartney. oh, musician posts not restricted to singer/composers. it can be your favorite singers too.


  3. dorian said

    good critique of cornell’s art : http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/02/17/030217crat_atlarge


  4. Beautiful: I went to see a retrospective of him at the Whitechapel in London in 1981, and it was a revelation. Nothing can prepare you for the actual objects……..


  5. Princessxxx said

    my fave, the one with the budgerier on the hand.

    the artists posts really lighten up the blog and draw a lot of attention.
    i was thinking of videoing the cat that keeps hitting the refresh button.
    that cat is smarter than i thought, he can even lift the lid on the scanner’
    sit on it, hit the copy button and make multiple scans of his *ss.
    (trying to keep it PG here)

    i’ve only seen his work in gallery catologs, ArtinAmercia and ArtNEWS magazines.
    i really like his use of the birds. Cornell’s, not the cat.

    hey Betty, you will like this, i spent a month in Provincetown, MA staying at Hans Hoffmans house. What a collection of art books and gallery catologs. 100’s, an entire enormous room of them. we drank and smoked and i looked thru every one of them.
    i went insane.


  6. Princessxxx said

    speaking of insane, it seems the keyboard cat only likes to hit the refresh button if there is a daily devotional. very pavlovian, yet he/she’s not a dog. it’s a cat.


  7. dorian said

    the more i read about cornell the more i like him. i like his ‘fragments of once beautiful and precious objects.’
    i have a budgie just like the one up there, his name is mimmo.

    cool that cornell does a lot of florentine renaissance figures, including my favorite, galileo.
    i know i’ve seen his work at the moma in new york, can’t remember which one. i want to see more live now. happens everytime i do one of these posts.

    thanks for the cornell post suggestion, betty. i enjoyed it.

    oh – keyboard cats are fundamentalist, p.


  8. this is a great post dorian i enjoyed it. Oh and princess you need to take the keyboard cat away from the inspirational tv shows make it watch animal planet or something like that.


  9. princessxxx said

    oh, even better, i dropped said “keyboard cat” off behind the “korean restaraunt”. hahhah.


  10. Anonymous said

    What are the artwork details for the first image you’ve got on this site? Year, medium, size?


  11. dorian said

    my apologies, i was remiss on the details on this post. having problems locating the blue de medici boy image source for the details…searching.


  12. gc said

    The artwork of the green parakeet on the orange game board is the work of artist, Caroline Waite, a mixed media collage artist originally from England but living in the states these days. I took the photograph of it and her other artwork. It’s a wonderful piece.


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