The Museum Writ Small
Walking through the Centre Pompidou, my attention was drawn by this small museum box by Joseph Cornell. I find it deeply satisfying that, among his many boxes, this surrealist created a “museum” in which all things in the universe could apparently be contained in a few little vials.
Deeply satisfying . . . and yet . . . not. Artistic attempts to represent and define the natural world so often remind me of certain religious rituals, or at their extreme, of a cargo cult. It is sufficient to say something, even if the speaker has no understanding of what the words might mean. But maybe the museum box is intended to be antithetical to the logical structure of the natural history museum, and maybe it is best to enjoy all museums without too much conscious consideration.
Is it the museum writ small and yet ridiculous? While we are on the subject of entering realms of which the interpreter has but a meagre understanding, at the Centre Pompidou my daughter and I became taken with the idea of photographing bits of the building as though they were abstract works of art . . .
© Graham Young, 2012