Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery (1943) by Joseph Cornell

Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery - Joseph Cornell - 1943

Artwork Information

TitleHabitat Group for a Shooting Gallery
ArtistJoseph Cornell
Dimensions15 1/2 x 11 1/8 x 4 1/4 in.
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationHabitat Group for a Shooting Gallery

About Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery

The artwork “Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery” was created by the artist Joseph Cornell in 1943. Belonging to the Surrealism movement, this installation art measures 15 1/2 x 11 1/8 x 4 1/4 inches, encapsulating a dream-like assemblage within a box format. The piece is a multi-faceted construction that invites contemplation on a variety of themes, including the fragility of life and the interplay between nature and artifice.

The artwork is composed within a wooden box, featuring a collection of printed and three-dimensional objects carefully arranged to provoke thought and curiosity. Inside, there are representations of birds—colorful and lifelike, juxtaposed against a background adorned with printed words, numbers, and splashes of paint. Elements within the piece appear to be targets, and the presence of numbers suggests a sort of game or scorekeeping, alluding perhaps to the shooting gallery mentioned in the title. There is a palpable sense of depth, with some elements receding into the shadows of the box, while others seem to almost protrude into the viewer’s space. The interplay of vibrant hues against the neutral backdrop, as well as the mixture of natural forms with splattered paint, creates a striking contrast that draws the eye and engages the imagination. This work is emblematic of Cornell’s ability to transform mundane objects into a contemplative tableau that transcends the sum of its parts, inviting viewers into a whimsical, yet introspective world of his making.

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