The French Surrealists’ oft-cited goal to create work “as beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella” expressed their desire to create a new and raw beauty, centered on everyday objects. The American artist Joseph Cornell used similar strategies to lyrical effect. Self-taught, his collages and three-dimensional objects intertwine language and image into poetic constellations.
This installation features 25 of Cornell’s enigmatic works, each of which—despite their unlikely beginnings in a cluttered basement and an odd assortment of materials—remains a visual poem that prompts us to daydream.
Also on view is Ken Price’s Death Shrine 2, a work that expands the notion of the box into a colorful shrine. Like Cornell, Price was an artist’s artist and ceramics his favorite material. Most of his works are small in scale, the exception being his Happy’s Curios, a series that includes Death Shrine 2 and was inspired by roadside stores and memorials in Mexico.