New York: Thames & Hudson, 2012. 8 x 11 x 2 in. Clamshell box containing 1 book in wraps, 1 book in cloth, and 1 CD-ROM. Fine condition. Item #4213
Joseph Cornell is known widely for his shadow boxes, chaotic assemblages of found objects and ephemera. Cornell found much of his inspiration and materials on visits to used bookstores in New York City. On one such visit, he struck gold when he came across the Journal d’Agriculture Pratique et Journal de l’Agriculture, a French agricultural handbook from 1911. Inspired by his love of turn of the century French culture, Cornell transformed the arcane farmer’s manual into the dazzling work, known as Untitled Book-Object. The book was discovered in Cornell’s basement by curator Walter Hopps, and is in too fragile of a condition to be handled. Luckily, the Philadelphia Museum of Art took on the task of digitizing all 844 pages of the book--which are included in an interactive CD found in a clamshell box, along with a facsimile of the most intriguing 60 pages. A book of illustrated essays by curators and art historians provides a greater context for and exploration of this little known work.