Great short bio of Joseph Cornell

Every retail establishment needs a theme, doesn’t it? And “thingbox” and “thinghotel” find inspiration in the work of Joseph Cornell, a man whose life is proof that scavenging for joyful objects is not an utter waste of time.

My favorite part of this brief bio, written by the dealer Joseph Feigen of E. 69th St. NYC:

“Like the French Surrealists, Cornell’s work relied on the concept of irrational juxtaposition as it forayed into the realm of both Pop and installation/ conceptual art. His varied series of boxes centered around succinct, albeit vague titles from “Bird” to “Observatory,” and “Hotel.” Cornell, despite or because of his shyness, maintained endearing infatuations with Hollywood starlets including Lauren Bacall, even going to far as to send boxes dedicated to them. Other influences included Stéphane Mallarmé and Gérard de Nerval as well as dancers Marie Taglioni and Fanny Cerrito.”

Irrational juxtaposition is a great practice to strive for. I often imagine the creative impulse to be an act of pouring the kids’ sorry toy baskets on the floor and figuring out what to build with all that junk. This is where the cheap and broken McDonald’s jewjaw begs for kinship with the exquisite educational toy.  The boy often joins forces with his friend to oblige the yearning objects and I am usually pleased with the results. For awhile.

Another visionary part of Cornell’s psyche is also apparent from the list of his admirees-Anyone who idolizes Lauren Bacall plus Stephan Mallarme and Nerval is genius. No doubt about it.

Here is the bio in its entirety:


I’m heading to Ireland. Found object exhibit sounds phenomenal

This review of artists Nikki Wynnychuk and Maggie Madden at the Dublin City Hall Lab Space push all my buttons in a very favorable way. MM’s work especially intrigues since the scale is miniscule-not easy with found objects:

“There’s a metaphoric richness to the way the same principle applies through a range of scales in her work. Her pieces refer us to systems and networks of many kinds, from tiny organisms, say, to the vast infrastructure of transport and communications in modern cities. Running through everything is a sense of the underlying precariousness of systems and processes. Some of her most breathtaking pieces are tiny and scarcely visible from any distance, particularly the intricate geometric constructions of coloured fibre optic strands. ”

It’s nice that she integrates updated materials such as fiber optic cable into her work, which is a nice update from the “classical” stuff put together in the Dada days.

More on this exhibit:

My favorite found object: souvenir box of view of Louvre from the Seine

  Kitsch but in that old-world charming kind of way, rather than in the Jeff Koons in-your-face kind of way. Sentimental. Tiny cars in the background vouch for the vintage nature of the box.  The sky is always blue in Paris souvenirs.