otherworldly: optical delusions and small realities
original content
jun 09, 2011
otherworldly: optical delusions and small realities


otherworldly: optical delusions and small realities
museum of arts and design, new york
on now until september 18, 2011

miniature work by lori nix
‘beauty shop’ (in progress), 2010
c-print
40 x 52 inches
courtesy of the artist; clampart gallery, new york

‘otherworldly: optical delusions and small realities’ presents a series of 37 miniature worlds, transporting visitors into surreal,
hyperrealistic worlds, secretive environments, challenging one’s perception of what is real and what is fabricated.

the featured artists explore the use of the diorama as a contemporary art form through site-specific installation, video, photography,
(even snow globes…), creating dioramas as free-standing sculptures, while also using them as subjects for photographs or animated videos.
each tiny built world is realized through an intense engagement with a diverse set of materials and a meticulous attention to detail
allowing for the production of elaborate environments that are at once familiar and foreign.


miniature work by lori nix
‘great hall’, 2006
courtesy of the artist

‘otherworldly …’, held at the museum of art and design (MAD) in new york, is loosely organized around four themes,
providing a narrative thread for the diverse subject matters at hand:
‘apocalyptic archaeology’ introduces viewers to architectural monuments
and interiors, frequently in ruin, as a means of investigating
the ultimate deterioration and decay of cultural artifacts. ‘unnatural
nature’ is an ironic look at our fascination with simulating
natural phenomena. works pertaining to ‘dreams and memories’ question the nature and meaning of recalled experiences.
finally, ‘voyeur / provocateurs’ delves into hidden, secretive spaces and unspoken narratives.
the exhibition excludes dollhouses, theatrical sets, maquettes and architectural models.


miniature work by alan wolfson
‘canal st. cross-section’, 2009-10
27 x 23.5 x 19.5 inches

courtesy of the artist

the international artists represented are each dedicated to a practice
that focuses on traditional low-tech and hand-made processes.

photographs in the exhibition are created using traditional equipment
and not digitally manipulated, constructing small locales,

both mythic and actual, becoming the subjects of their photographic investigations. for many of the photographers represented,

this exhibition is the first occasion in which their built models are
displayed to the public, focusing specifically on dioramas

and installations as works of art.


miniature work by alan wolfson
‘canal st. cross-section’ (in progress, detail), 2009-10
mixed media
27 x 23.5 x 19.5 inches
courtesy of the artist; private collection, england

see designboom’s article on alan wolfson’s canal st. cross-section.


miniature work by joe fig
‘chuck close: 8/1/04 – 4/25/06′, 2005-06
mixed media
11 x 11 x 9.5 inches
courtesy of the artist

in a social and artistic environment in which digital programming and cyberworlds are embedded in almost every aspect
of our day-to-day activity, these artists are taking the bold step to reengage with the tangible and going back to the roots
of artistic practice. they are creating magical worlds that, whether depicting floating landscapes, haunting interiors,
or abandoned rooms, are all about place, emotion, memory, and vision – both perceived and created,

says MAD’s chief curator david mcfadden


miniature work by joe fig
‘jackson pollock’, 2008 (detail)
wood, polymer clay, canvas, pencil, oil / acrylic paint, metal, plastic
8 x 21 x 17.5 inches
courtesy of the arts; private collection


miniature work by patrick jacobs
work in progress, 2008
courtesy of the artist

exhibiting artists include:
matthew albanese, rick araluce, mat collishaw, thomas doyle, gregory euclide, joe fig, frank kunert, walter martin, charles matton,
didier massard, paloma muñoz, lori nix, david opdyke and charles simonds.

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