The best, I think, "elevator pitch" for Joseph Cornell is from Adam Gopnick in an article in the New Yorker, 2/17/03:
He is an artist of longings, but his longings are for things known and seen and hard to keep. He didn't long to go to France; he longed to build memorials to the feeling of wanting to go to France while riding the Third Avenue El. He preferred the ticket to the trip, the postcard to the place, the fragment to the whole. Cornell's boxes look like dreams to us, but the mind that made them was always wide awake.
Photo: Lee Miller