Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Art of Boxing

So I guess the idea of this blogging month is to post something every day about something that interests you. My first thought is, Do I have any interests? Or, have I already bored everyone at the cocktail party? I've talked at length about German soaps (an interest that has now expanded to Spanish, Dutch, South American, British, Romanian and Israeli soaps). I've posted my musical obsessions (Patrick Wolf still reigns at the moment, followed closely by The Editors). In fact, there aren't many obsessions I haven't culled. Now I'm left with the more muted "interests."

So, boxes. I'm fond of decorative and unusual boxes. I have nowhere to put them, so I have very few. But when I walk into Cost Plus or Pier One, I am attuned to the boxes. Carved wood boxes, small boxes of soapstone, boxes with mosaic inlay, boxes with cunning little drawers and velvet lining. A box is, well, a boxfull of potential, a mystery waiting to be tucked away.

Which brings me to Joseph Cornell. Can you imagine my delight when I discovered Joseph Cornell, the master artist of surrealist boxes?

I don't want someone tracking me down for copyright infringement, so just click here to see an example, and here to see a whole bunch of them. The Art Institute of Chicago has a big collection of Cornell boxes, and I've spent some happy times there soaking in their magic. One of my favorite poets, Charles Simic, wrote a volume of short essays about Cornell. The book is called Dime-store Alchemy, and I think that is a perfect description for Cornell's art.


  1. English soaps? Have you seen Coronation Street? It's brilliant with such northern humour.

    I also collect boxes though I only ever get one a year, from one of my brothers-in-law who always buys me one for Christmas.

    I'm not bored yet, by the way so keep those posts coming.

  2. Petty, I was just watching something or other from Coronation Street the other day. It was an old storyline, I think. Can't watch the whole thing, just what people bother to post. When I visited England I would sometimes watch it, if there was a TV around. So different from American soaps, which are all glossy and focused on the wealthy.