After Cornell's death in 1972 an amazing book was discovered in his basement studio. The book was a french agriculture book, Journal d'Agriculture Practique, (Volume 21, 1911), that he discovered during his rummaging through used bookstalls in Manhattan. The old book was purchased in the early 1930s, at which time Cornell started to alter the book into collage of pages filled with art and images.
Manual of Marvels
Cutouts in the pages would reveal an illustration on another page, perhaps a piece of origami, an drawing or a cut-out magazine illustration.
The collages and photomontages make each page a delight as it's revealed.
The Cornell Box
From the publishers:
Fittingly presented in a Cornell box, the package includes a facsimile of sixty of the most extraordinary pages from the Journal, complete with cut-outs, pop-ups, and glue-ons, an interactive DVD of the entire work, and a volume of illustrated essays on the Journal and Cornell's artistic practice. Flip through the facsimile to find wonderful surprises: the Mona Lisa clutching delicate lotion bottles, a golden sun peeking through a hole in the text, a fashionable woman with a glued-on strawberry hat. Then, use the DVD to explore the text even further, or peruse the book of essays to learn what Cornell scholars have to say about the significance of the Manual.
The actual Untitled Book Object: Journal d'Agriculture Pratique et Journal de l'Agriculture (formal name) is a very fragile piece of art that has been impossible to exhibit. The goal of the publishers has been to make the entire work accessible and viewable, and although it is impossible to replicate it exactly, it's apparent that it's as close as possible.
Book lover, art historian, art lover and even crafters that like to work with found objects -- this will appeal to all the above.
Over the years there have been several book/kits that feature the Joseph Cornell box, including kits to make your own using his artwork as inspirations. If you're the least bit artistic and/or crafty, this book will most likely have you thinking more about altered books and art, perhaps even creating your own.
Edited by Dickran Tashjian and Analisa Leppanen-Guerra
Published: November 2012