girish on Joseph Cornell's films. This is a good summation of what's good about the films. (These movie blogs--boy--art geeks will never, ever, be this thorough.)
Still thinking about the films and their connection to Richard Prince, whose retrospective I saw a couple of days after Anthology screened the Cornell. The connection is the throwaway quality of the images, the deep investment in something trivial.
In Cornell's the case it was returning to the same images again and again, so they become fixations. The audience comes to love and be haunted by these meaningless filmic ephemera purchased by the foot in junk stores.
In Prince's case it's the investment of the "art aura" in advertising photos through careful cropping, enlargement, framing, and tony gallery-style presentation. All that for a dumb cosmetics ad. Yet one doesn't imagine he has the same longing that Cornell does--he's more of a hater.
When talking about Prince I just mean the early re-photography. The bile yielded something smart and profound, but then art world success necessitated rolling out a new product line every couple of years (or so it seems from the retrospective) and the time to obsess and be haunted from the perspective of total rejected loser-dom was lost.
Cornell made money off his boxes but rarely showed the films. One surmises that lack of exposure kept them pure somehow, maybe that's just being overly romantic. The boxes are ultra-romantic and I don't like them much.