Author(s): Sarah Lea
Joseph Cornell (1903 1972) was one of the 20th century s leading exponents of collage and assemblage. A connoisseur of an astonishing array of subjects, Cornell s captivation with bygone imagery encompassed astronomical charts and geographical maps, Italian and Spanish Old Master paintings, historical ballet, early film, literature, poetry, and ornithology. Most iconic among his works are his box constructions microcosmic curiosity cabinets filled with once-precious fragments that he collected in thrift shops in his native New York. "Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust" is a landmark publication examining this remarkable work. It brings together some of Cornell s most compelling assemblages and box constructions (including Medici slot machines, soap-bubble sets, and animal habitats). The contributors raise questions about Cornell s artistic processes while drawing parallels with historical modes of inquiry such as connoisseurship, exploration, and classification."
Sarah Lea is curator of the exhibition "Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust" at the Royal Academy of Arts. Lynda Roscoe Hartigan is former director of the Smithsonian's Joseph Cornell Study Center. Jasper Sharp is adjunct curator for modern and contemporary art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.