Impressions: Stories Behind the Collection

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Assemblage as Poetry

Assemblage as Poetry

Joseph Cornell’s first major retrospective was held from January 9 to February 11, 1967, at the Pasadena Art Museum (PAM). The critically acclaimed exhibition presented 74 of Cornell’s signature shadow-box collages—small, glass-fronted enclosures that house meticulously arranged found materials. It was the last show that the famed curator and museum director Walter Hopps organized at PAM (then located on North Los Robles Avenue), and it was seen as a fitting send-off for the man responsible for many of PAM’s groundbreaking exhibitions. The rapturous reception to this exhibition bolstered Cornell’s stature as one of the foremost innovators of American assemblage.

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