Joseph Cornell Illuminated

Hans Namuth

Joseph Cornell in His Backyard, Utopia Parkway, New York, 1969

”It kills me, it’s so good. Let’s pretend I took this, okay?… I used to go to Cornell’s house once a week for I don’t know how long. He would make tea on his ancient, Depression-era stove. He’d turn the gas on, and the flames shot up. He talked a lot, gesturing, in this very fluffy angora sweater he wore. And I’m thinking, I should keep the camera ready in case he goes up. A Flaming Cornell: that’d be amazing! Unfortunately, he never caught on fire. But this portrait is going to upstage the whole exhibit – I may have to set it on fire.” – Duane Michals

From ”Illusions of the Photographer”, an exhibition of the art of Duane Michals, which included this photograph of Joseph Cornell by Hans Namuth and, as far as I was concerned, upstage the whole exhibit, it did.

The Morgan Library

November 10th, 2019