"Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities" now showing at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York presents an eclectic range of dioramas, models, and site specific installations alongside photographs and video created from the hand-built works. At first glance the exhibition feels like stepping onto a set you might expect to find in a stop animation studio with beautifully detailed miniature scenes constructed in unapologetic functional boxes—only intended to be viewed through a camera lens inside and up close. The style of work included varies dramatically with curator David Revere McFadden making a connection between art, craftsmanship, design, and visual imaging as the common thread. To help visitors understand the exhibition, it's organized into four themes:
Unnatural Nature Features work by artists that recreate natural environments or propose alternative visions of landscape and nature.
Apocalyptic Archaeology Features works that reveal the darker side of the post-industrial landscape and the time-infused eroding urban environment.
Dreams and Memories Includes works that capture and convey states of psychological angst, often in the form of dark and mysterious open-ended narratives.
Voyeur/Provocateur Includes subversively witty scenes-satirical commentaries on art, culture, and politics.
While the multiple concepts of illusion are delightful in this exhibition, Core readers will immediately have an affinity with the painstakingly crafted dollhouses, theatrical sets, maquettes, and architectural models on display, mostly built to serve as photographic models. Work such as Alan Wolfson's Canal St. Cross Section is a stunning example of a stand alone miniature with working lights, secret view points and incredible detailing.
Other highlights include Joe Fig's meticulous replica of Chuck Close's art studio, The Violin Repair Shop by Lori Nix, Consolidated Life by David Lawrey and Jaki Middleton, and lighting designer Chris Levine's My Deep SEE Adventure [No 101]. At the museums request we were unable to shoot Mat Collishaw's mechanized zoetrope Garden of Unearthly Delights, a mesmerizing installation which you can see in this video.
The exhibition runs through September 18th, 2011, and is well worth a visit if you're in New York this summer.
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities Museum of Arts and Design 2 Columbus Circle New York, NY 10019 212-299-7777
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