For as long as there’s been art, there’s also been really, really tiny art. Yet miniatures are usually relegated to a tiny corner in a museum (pun intended). Which is exactly what makes Otherworldly, a current exhibition at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, so wondrous: This just might be the largest exhibition of miniature contemporary art ever assembled, featuring 37 artists. In every corner, another tiny world.
One of the strangest facets of seeing the show is how durable the appeal of miniatures really is. You might think that they’d be passe in an age where digital worlds can be so infinitely complex. But the reverse is probably true. Miniatures are simply more interesting now, because their obsessive, painstaking detail seems so foreign.
And you have to see these in person, because a weird thing happens when you look at something familiar that’s also really, really small. For one, you’d assume the experience would make you feel utterly ginormous. But that’s not quite the appeal, not to me, anyway. Rather, when you see your own world reduced to minuscule size, you actually feel smaller. To see yourself represented that way is to realize that there’s so much out there which is bigger than you.
Maybe you’ll feel the same? Otherworldly runs for just two more weeks at the Museum of Arts and Design. To whet your appetite, here’s seven of our favorite artists in the show.