In 1943, Joseph Cornell created the Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery, which is an assemblage art piece featuring a collection of tropical birds assigned with numbers and various clippings referencing Europe. Cornell was an American artist and avant-garde experimental filmmaker strongly influenced by the Surrealists. His boxes or shadow frames were his obsession because he arranged everyday objects and photographs inside them.
The use of numbers to assign birds in this artwork made it unique among contemporary pieces of art. It makes viewers think about categorization in wildlife, forcing us to pay more attention to our environment. Cornell’s use of clippings to reference Europe was also intriguing because the Habitat Group was an opportunity for him to fuse different cultures and realities.
It is significant that most artists depict nature in lush surroundings; however, Cornell gave us a glimpse into a virtual environment within closed quarters, where things have logically been curated according to classification systems like zoos at that time. Overall, the Habitat Group is not only aesthetically beautiful but intellectually stimulating artwork as well.