No artist ever led a stranger life than Joseph Cornell (1903‒1972), the autodidact American genius prized for his disquieting shadow boxes, who stands at the intersection of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art. Legends about Cornell abound—as the shy hermit, the devoted family caretaker, the artistic innocent—but never before Utopia Parkway has he been presented for what he was: a relentlessly serious artist whose stature has now reached monumental proportions. A friend to figures as diverse as Duchamp, de Kooning, and Warhol, romantically entangled with Susan Sontag and Yoko Ono, Cornell is one of America’s most powerful and unusual modern artists, and this is his definitive biography.
“Energetic, lavishly detailed, and boldly interpretive…As perfectly composed, richly nuanced and quietly surprising as one of Cornell’s boxes” (Chicago Tribune).
“Masterly” (Washington Post).
“Makes Cornell’s inner life palpably real” (New York Times).
“A feat of intelligence and human sympathy” (Wall Street Journal).