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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Princess Tulip on the Washington Merry-Go-Round

I spent part of my day off Monday peering into the tiny works of assemblage that comprise the Joseph Cornell show currently running at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Lest you think that the robin's egg- and silver thimble-adorned tableaus in Anthropologie were their brainchild, a trip through this exhibit reminds you that Cornell did it eight decades earlier, did it better, and did it for a more complex purpose than selling $200 crocheted capelets.

Included in the exhibit are several pages from Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country, and the like, which contracted with Cornell in the late 1930s and 1940s to illustrate features. One jumped out at me, from the May 1941 Town & Country. Not because of the strength of his artwork, but because of the written content. A bit of fictional fluff titled "Princess Tulip on the Washington Merry-Go-Round" the piece opens with Princess Tulip opining about the District: "Until this year I always gave Washington the slip in my travels because of the ancient taboo that it is a city no one ever visits voluntarily; you are either sent, or sent for, or you have won a national essay contest."

Glad to see later in the day that Princess Tulip is still getting work. (Via DCist.)


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