Kubick and Walsh at Whitney Museum of American Art, December 2001,
with works by Joseph Cornell and Spirit Medium Valerie Winborne

An Evening with Joseph Cornell

Performance Lecture, 60 minutes, 2002 - 2012

Performance History:

Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil, 2012
Royal College of Art, London, UK, April 2006
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, October 2005
GrandArts, Kansas City, MO, March 2005
University Art Museum, University of Texas at Austin, October 2004
University of Colorado, Boulder, September 2004
ISSUE Project Room, New York City, April 2004
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 2004
University of Essex, Colchester, U.K., September 2003
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, November 2002

Lights out. Sound up: the recorded voice of professional trance medium Valerie Winborne speaks as the spirit of the American artist Joseph Cornell. Cornell muses on his work, his reputation, his legacy, his dreams. Lights come up just a little, and we spend the next hour taking the audience on a journey that explores biography, storytelling, spirituality, art history, and mythology.

The primary material of "An Evening with Joseph Cornell" is a series of audio recordings documenting "interviews" we conducted in 2002, in the presence of Cornell's box constructions, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The lecture presents extended samples of the five spirit mediums through whom Cornell communicated, framed by an admittedly witty but also serious and analytical narration and illustrated by slides of Cornell's enigmatic works, journal entries, paper ephemera, family photos, historical photos of his NYC "haunts," film stills, and related themes. We discuss the various ethical and practical issues involved in the making of the "Art After Death" series of which the Cornell work is a part: the odd conflation of art historians and spirit mediums; the uncanny "truths" which emerge; the meaning of "inspiration"; the ownership of an artist's legacy, and much more.

For more on this project, please visit the page devoted to our compact disc, Visits With Joseph Cornell, Volume 2 of our Art After Death series.