“Loy and Cornell: Christian Science and the Destruction of the World”
Armstrong, Tim. “Loy and Cornell: Christian Science and the Destruction of the World,” Pages 204–20 in The Salt Companion to Mina Loy. Edited by Rachel Potter and Suzanne Hobson. London: Salt, 2010.
British scholar Tim Armstrong synthesizes much that is known about artist Joseph Cornell’s devotion to Christian Science, and makes a case that Cornell infused elements of the Christian Science worldview, including denial of the substantiality of matter, into his art. Armstrong also shows that bohemian poet/novelist Mina Loy, a close long-term friend of Cornell’s, read Eddy, and infused ideas traceable to Christian Science into her poetry, fiction, and correspondence with Cornell. Loy alludes to Cornell’s unique art objects (e.g. boxes enframing surreal images, often of cosmological phenomena) as expressing features of Christian Science theology. According to Armstrong, Loy and Cornell hinted that nuclear fission—and its potential for “The Destruction of the World,” as in the title of an essay by writer/physician Pierre Mabille, associated with the surrealist movement—confirms the abstruse Christian Science principles that “the world is Mind” (211) and that by embracing this Mind, “the error which is material existence would dissolve before us” (211). Cornell and Loy grappled tacitly with these notions in their respective arts, in response to the Christian Science belief that when the material world is understood as nothingness, the kingdom of heaven is already here, and can be known in epiphanies of spiritual consciousness.
For more, see:
Robinson, Elizabeth. “Mina Loy Writes to Joseph Cornell About Christian Science.” Conjunctions, no. 66 (2016): 307.