Chris & Jae's Cool Blog of Links
I ran across some of these in the Art Institute of Chicago -- the Casseiopiea ones look familiar. Er, no, now that I look at the postcards I bought at the time, they are somewhat similar in composition but entirely different! balls and rods, prints of planets, glasses, birds. Some of them had moving parts, like games, only you couldn't get at them of course because they were in glass cases.
Revisiting this post since I read Edward Hirsch describing Cornell's boxes as "symbolist reveries, time capsules for eternity... We are broken vessels, Cornell seems to teach us, aspiring to a lost wholeness. It can be recovered in sudden flashes and memories, in momentary daydreams, in fleeting moments of revelation, in works of art..." He quotes Charles Simic: "It ought to be clear that Cornell is a religious artist. Vision is his subject. He makes holy icons. He proves that one needs to believe in angels and demons even in a modern world in order to make sense of it. "The disorder of the city is sacred. All things are interrelated. As above, so below. We are fragments of an unutterable whole. Meaning is aways in search of itself. Unsuspected revelations await us around the next corner... Making art in America is about saving one's soul."