Kidspace: Artistic Curiosity Questions
As you may know, Kidspace: Artistic Curiosity recently opened at WCMA in early November 2012. We have since been encouraging visitors to the exhibition to write and post their own questions about two of the works by Joseph Cornell currently on view in the show. We’ve had some very exciting questions come in, and we will be sharing some of them here with you in the coming months. We will be giving answers to some of these wonderful, thought-provoking inquiries but will be leaving others open to discussion. We invite you to post your own responses to these questions and look forward to hearing what about these pictures sparks your curiosity!
In the first few weeks of the exhibition many visitors asked questions about Cornell’s View at Ostend. One visitor wrote:
” What is he looking at? Maybe he is looking through his picture into the shadow box at the cat?”
What do you think the man in the picture is looking at?
Another visitor wondered about Cornell’s Untitled shadow-box, asking ” Why is it dirty?”
Joseph Cornell was fascinated with the passage of time, memory, and nostalgia. In many of his images, he references these themes directly through the incorporation of clock parts, hourglasses, and other objects that allude to time’s measures. Cornell often incorporated objects from the past that he found in antique shops or flea markets. He would juxtapose historic objects to create new meanings, and to make connections through time. The cracking, worn quality of the Cornell shadow box in this exhibition is likely deliberate on the part of the artist. Weathered surfaces, old-fashioned materials, and peeling paint are often seen in his work as a means of evoking the past and to show the object’s age.
Joseph Cornell, (American, 1903-1972), View at Ostend, c. 1965, mixed media collage. Gift of Susan W. Paine in honor of Stephen D. Paine, Class of 1954. (M.2008.22) © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
Joseph Cornell, (American, 1903-1972), Untitled, mid 20th century, wood, glass, metal, and paper. Gift of Mrs. John A. Benton. (73.20) © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.