Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Joseph Cornell on collecting

Joseph Cornell liked to collect things:

At the 1939 World's Fair, he saw some fanciful Dutch clay pipes, the stems of which were claws, a hand holding a cup or a twig with an acorn bowl. Cornell bought a gross of them. "I collect anything of human interest. There are no elite kinds of things in my work." Though he stores up for future needs he dislikes being called a squirrel. "Something may catch your interest but you'll pass it up," he explains. "But when you want it, it won't be there. Sometimes you go back and even the shop is gone."

From a portrait of Joseph Cornell by David Bourdon, "Enigmatic Bachelor of Utopia Parkway," published in Life, December 15, 1967
There's currently a spectacular exhibition of Cornell's work in Salem, Massachusetts:
Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination (Peabody Essex Museum)

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