Exciting news. Other Press just released a new edition of Utopia Parkway (1997), Deborah Solomon’s deeply researched and intensely entertaining biography of the Surrealist Joseph Cornell (1903–72). The book, which takes its name from the road that Cornell lived on in Flushing, Queens, with his mother and brother, offers up all sorts of great stories, like the time that an angry Salvador Dalí knocked over a projector after Cornell’s first screening because he was envious of the work, and also documents, in detail, Cornell’s love for cakes, pies, pastries, and all sorts of sweets.
To mark the new publication, here is an excerpt concerning the artist Roberto Matta and Cornell’s sweet tooth:
[Matta] had real affection for Cornell, addressing him as “Jo-Jo,” the French diminutive of his name, and relishing the sight of him arriving for a visit carrying “a suitcase filled with objects, old films, photos, etc.” At Cornell’s invitation, Matta once ventured out to Utopia Parkway for an overnight stay and was struck by the childlike gesture with which Cornell welcomes him to the house: “The first thing he showed me as a ‘promise’ of a good weekend,” he said, “was the ice-box—it was packed with cake, ice cream, and all sorts of sweets.”
If you are in New York this weekend, Solomon will be giving an “illustrated book talk” about Cornell at the Queens Museum in Flushing on Sunday, October 25, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Maybe throw in a visit to The Lemon Ice King of Corona afterward! It’s only a 15-minute walk away.