The beauty and precision of miniature art


@smallisbeautifulart on IG

Tamara Frieson, Staff Writer

The “Small is Beautiful” New York art exhibition is a unique miniature art universe that began in Paris and London with over 150,000 visitors and numerous positive reviews. It is said to be the biggest international exhibition entirely devoted to miniature art and the incredible journey of creating the pieces. The first international exhibition represented the work of 32 worldwide miniature artists, giving them an opportunity to present their creations to the general public. After its success, miniature art became a phenomenon on social media, thus unveiling some of the world’s greatest artists of the movement. 

I had the privilege of seeing it for myself and experiencing the magical (and somewhat unusual) pieces that are part of the “Small is Beautiful” exhibition. The experience is engaging from the moment you enter the studio. Each worker seems to know the full history of the work on display and expects the viewer to give a top three (if not top five) of their favorite artifacts from the showcasing by the end of the self-led tour. The studio is set up like a maze and showcases a surplus of miniature artifacts within each section of the walk-through. The exhibition was so detail-oriented that even the more conventional objects in the space were used to create a story. In one area, the building fire extinguisher was ornamented by tiny men with parachutes who seemed to be escaping from it, and inside the fire alarm was a miniature scene of a woman and a man trying to extinguish a fire by themselves. 

Some of the most impressive pieces were the miniature sculptures, paintings and architectural designs that were each individually made by the dexterous hands of the artists themselves. Some of the sculptures were as small as the lead end of a sharpened pencil and yet were as intricate as a life-sized sculpture. Some pieces were made specifically from household objects to illustrate shadows on canvases that made animate images. Though there was much to take away from the experience, what was most striking was the ongoing tribute to popular culture that the exhibit seemed to maintain throughout. 

Pop culture has begun to overtake society, which was evident in the thematic art presented in the museum. Two distinct works of pop culture stood out: a Beatles concert that was strictly made up of LEGO people and a hobbit-esque house that was a tribute to the “Lord of the Rings.” There were even some modern twists on pre-established art pieces like the Statue of Liberty. Much of the world already knows about the incredible detail of the Statue of Liberty, but seeing the sculpture in a miniature form is quite amazing when you take into account the vast difference in the dimensions of each.

As thousands of people have visited the pop-up exhibition in France and the United Kingdom, people are sure to explore the phenomenon of miniature art in the United States. “Small is Beautiful” is a reminder to appreciate the beauty that comes from the precision and process of creation. Each piece in the exhibit has immaculate detail, sparking the imagination and allowing the viewer to create their own narrative for the artifact. Open until April 9, this experience is an intriguing engagement that students will not want to miss.