Despite a lack of formal art training, Joseph Cornell enjoyed a career spanning five decades, exhibiting in major New York City galleries alongside some of the most prolific avant-garde artists of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, including Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly. Inspired by Duchamp’s use of the readymade, Kurt Schwitters’ signature collages, Paul Klee’s childlike perspective, Andy Warhol’s repetitive imagery, and Rauschenberg’s combines, he created an expansive body of work that features collages, films, graphic designs, and his renowned glass-paneled shadow boxes, which he once referred to as “poetic theaters.”
Featuring 12 two-sided collages, two unlidded boxes filled with rolled paper and spools of thread, and one shadow box, Joseph Cornell: Things Unseen enables viewers to discover how Cornell used progressive art forms to explore surrealist concepts of memories, fantasies, and dreams, all while examining themes of childhood, nature, sensuality, non-linear time, and nostalgia for days gone by.
Joseph Cornell: Things Unseen is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s Circles of Support and Museum Members.
Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Shaker Box with cylinders), undated. Mixed media. Gift of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation. © 2019 The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
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