Synopses & Reviews
A nondescript storefront operation in Los Angeles, California, the Museum of Jurassic Technology actually exists that may be the only thing about it that is for certain. The creation of David Wilson, a man of prodigiously unusual imagination, the museum is crammed full of some of the most astonishingly unbelievable marvels known to man. Visitors to the museum continually find themselves caught between wondering at the marvels of craft and nature that are on display and wondering whether any of this could possibly be true. Indeed, Wilson's true subject seems to be wonder itself, the delicious human capacity for astonishment and absorption out of which all true creativity arises. Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder begins as a simple investigation of the tiny storefront in southern California and spirals out into a consideration of the origins of all modern museums in the wonder-cabinets of the sixteenth century, the generative role of pure imagination in both art and science, the mystifying bases of the authoritative in every field, and, not least, the actual existence and profound significance of human horns.
"A small jewel of a book, as intricate and astonishing as the wonders it describes." Kirkus Reviews
"[L]anguage that is both whimsical, affectionate and generously laced with irony." Washington Post Book World
"[M]iraculous...charmingly provocative book." Los Angeles Times Book Review
Finalist for Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
Pronged ants, horned humans, a landscape carved on a fruit pit--some of the displays in David Wilson's Museum of Jurassic Technology are hoaxes. But which ones? As he guides readers through an intellectual hall of mirrors, Lawrence Weschler revisits the 16th-century "wonder cabinets" that were the first museums and compels readers to examine the imaginative origins of both art and science.
Pronged ants, horned humans, a landscape carved on a fruit pit--some of the displays in David Wilson's Museum of Jurassic Technology are hoaxes. But which ones? As he guides readers through an intellectual hall of mirrors, Lawrence Weschler revisits the 16th-century "wonder cabinets" that were the first museums and compels readers to examine the imaginative origins of both art and science. Illustrations.
Rising young LA artist Ramiro Gomezandmdash;born in 1986 in San Bernardino, California, to undocumented Mexican immigrant parentsandmdash;bridges the divide between the wealthy and their usually invisible domestic help (the nannies, gardeners, housecleaners, and others who make their lifestyles possible). By inserting images of these workers into sly pastiches of iconic David Hockney paintings, subtly doctoring glossy magazine ads, and subversively slotting life-size painted cardboard cutouts into real-life situations, Gomez provides thought-provoking social commentary on class divisions.
In a deceptively gentle and entertaining essay, Lawrence Weschler engages with Gomez and his work, teasing out threads of meaning and feeling. Itandrsquo;s a fascinating journey for anyone troubled by questions of social equity, the chasms between cultures and classes, and the purposes and possibilities of art.
Includes bibliographical references.
About the Author
LA-born Lawrence Weschler is the award-winning author of Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees (about Robert Irwin), True to Life (about David Hockney), Mr. Wilsonandrsquo;s Cabinet of Wonders, and Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, among many others. He lives in New York City.