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Past Exhibitions


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Out of the Box: Joseph Cornell and Ken Price

Feb 28 – Aug 16 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

The French Surrealists’ oft-cited goal to create work “as beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella” expressed their desire to create a new and raw beauty, centered on everyday objects. The American artist Joseph Cornell used similar strategies to lyrical effect. Self-taught, his collages and three-dimensional objects intertwine language and image into poetic constellations.

This installation features 25 of Cornell’s enigmatic works, each of which—despite their unlikely beginnings in a cluttered basement and an odd assortment of materials—remains a visual poem that prompts us to daydream.

Also on view is Ken Price’s Death Shrine 2, a work that expands the notion of the box into a colorful shrine. Like Cornell, Price was an artist’s artist and ceramics his favorite material. Most of his works are small in scale, the exception being his Happy’s Curios, a series that includes Death Shrine 2 and was inspired by roadside stores and memorials in Mexico.


Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.