Found-footage upside-down, backwards spinning. Industrialization reversed, or the charm of the noble savage. —Eye of Sound
Joseph Cornell was born December 24, 1903, in Nyack, New York. From 1917 to 1921, he attended Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. He was an avid collector of memorabilia and, while working as a woolen-goods salesman in New York until 1931, developed his interests in ballet, literature, and opera. He lived with his mother and brother, Robert, at their home in the Flushing section of Queens.
In the early 1930s, Cornell met Surrealist writers and artists at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, and saw Max Ernst’s collage-novel La Femme 100 têtes. Cornell’s early constructions of found objects were first shown in the group exhibition Surréalisme at Levy’s gallery in 1932. From 1934 to 1940, Cornell supported himself by working as a textile designer at the Traphagen studio in New York. During these years, he became familiar with Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and Kurt Schwitters’s box constructions. Cornell was included in the 1936 exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism at the… read more