Thinking Inside the Box

the leaky beauty of joseph cornell’s mystery cabinets.

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), 1936.

Try as you might, you cannot fit the whole world in a box. From this failure comes the heartbreaking power of Joseph Cornell’s art. One can only navigate the imagination in increments, miniatures, on the wreckage of coffin shards, lost at sea, a filmy soap bubble on the expanse.

Joseph Cornell with his box “Garbo: The Crystal Mask,” about 1939-1940.

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