Remember those shoebox dioramas from elementary school, with colored saran wrap, wire hanger trees, clay people, and foam accoutrements? Well, the diorama-like models and miniatures featured in the Museum of Arts and Design's (2 Columbus Circle, 212-299-7777) "Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities" are nothing like those wishful thinking school projects.
"Otherworldly" showcases a group of artists from around the globe who share an interest in constructing small-scale depictions of artificial environments and alternative realities. Glorified dioramas? Sure. But they are insanely cool and, quite frankly, blew my mind. I think I exclaimed "but it looks so real!" more times than I care to admit. In the context of "Otherworldly," it makes sense. The careful attention to detail, engagement to materials, and commitment to meaningful content makes every miniature model, diorama, snow globe, and larger installation come to life.
The exhibit runs until Sept. 18 and, Hurricane Irene-willing, I hope that you make time in your weekend mockup for a Columbus Circle drive-by. Although the photos don't do "Otherworldly" justice, check out these unbelievable handmade realities.