The 9 Best Booths at Art Basel 2021: From a Monumental Nari Ward to Pauline Curnier Jardin’s Theater of Intimacy
September 25, 2021

Earlier this week, Art Basel opened its first in-person edition of its marquee fair in its hometown Swiss city since the onset of the pandemic. The anxiety of attending the fair, including meeting the strict Covid safety protocols required to enter, soon gave way to palpable excitement within the Messeplatz, the convention center where Art […] Continue reading

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An Ancient Snack Bar Lined with Elaborate Frescoes Opens in Pompeii
August 11, 2021

The ancient thermopolium (aka hot food stand) that archaeologists unearthed in Pompeii late last year opens to the public this week. Showing the extent of the snack bar’s impeccable preservation—much of its structure, equipment, and vibrant decorations remain intact—new photos from the Regio V site offer a rare glimpse into life in the Italian city that was buried by volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Elaborate, colorful frescoes depicting on-menu fare like chickens and hanging mallards line the L-shaped bar, with an array of large, earthenware vessels scattered around the space. More Continue reading

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Kengo Kuma Hangs Glimmering Sheets of Metallic Chain Inside Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
August 5, 2021

Renowned architect Kengo Kuma (previously) amplifies the already magical nature of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló in Barcelona with layers of shimmering curtains. Lining a staircase that stretches from the coal bunkers in the basement up eight flights, the immersive installation suspends 164,000 meters of Kriskadecor’s aluminum chain, positioning the lighter shades on the upper floors and black on the lowest level to emulate the gradient in the Casa Batlló courtyard. More Continue reading

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Guardians of Paradise: An Intimate Short Film Peers into Life in Burma
July 30, 2021


Comprised of footage shot between 2018 and 2020, “Guardians of Paradise” offers an intimate and sensitive glimpse at Burmese life. The short film shows children at play on docks, a fisherman as he pulls in his net, and others as they practice religious rituals in an attentive look at the joyful, trying, and mundane moments.
Directed by Ivan Maria Friedman of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based studio Maya Pictures with music by Max Richter, “Guardian’s of Paradise” is a small window into the Southeast Asian country prior to the February 1 miliary coup, which was prompted by unfounded claims of voter fraud following the election of National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. More Continue reading

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Objet: Candles Inspired by Classical Sculptures
July 23, 2021

Scrolling through the Instagram postings of American influencers whose brands rely on a certain adjacency to European culture, I’ve noticed that the standard fare of empty Diptyque glasses, Matisse cutouts, and starburst mirrors is now being complemented by sculptural candles. In the past few years, we’ve seen pastel-hued candles shaped like geometric solids, candles speckled […] Continue reading

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Herons of Amsterdam: A Photo Series Reveals the Unusually Large Population Living in the Dutch Capital
July 13, 2021

Spending timing in any major city is likely to bring run-ins with urban wildlife like rodents and pigeons, but in Amsterdam, there’s one long-legged species stalking the streets in unusually large numbers. In her ongoing series Herons of Amsterdam, photographer Julie Hrudová documents the thriving feathered population—it’s grown considerably in recent decades, and in 2017, officials estimated there were 800 pairs living in 25 neighborhoods—swooping down to sidewalks for a meal and confidently strutting into people’s homes. More Continue reading

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Sarah Sze Implants a Fragmented Installation of Individual Mirrors in a Lush Hudson Valley Landscape
July 8, 2021

Artist Sarah Sze (previously) is known for precisely arranging unique images like photos, paintings, projections into massive sculptural constellations that collapse time and space, and one of her newest installations works in a similar manner, drawing on the tensions between the individual and collective and past, present, and future. Nestled into the lush hillside of Storm King Arts Center in New York’s Hudson Valley, Sze’s “Fallen Sky” is comprised of 132 distinct pieces of polished stainless steel arranged in a fragmented circle. More Continue reading

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Gripping Portraits Capture the Tender Bonds Between Transylvanian Shepherds and Their Herds
July 2, 2021

In much of the Western world, mentioning Transylvania tends to evoke sinister imagery of dimly lit Gothic castles and notoriously blood-thirsty vampires. The region in central Romania has long been tied to the horrors of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, an association that overshadows the area’s rich history.
Hungarian photographer Istvan Kerekes has spent the last 15 years upending that literary connection by documenting the shepherding communities that have farmed Transylvania for centuries. More Continue reading

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Macro Photos Spotlight the Colorful, Whimsical Plant Growths Caused by Cynipid Wasps
June 30, 2021

When an herbivorous insect like an aphid or mite needs a place to feed and reproduce, it sometimes seizes a tiny section of a plant where it creates an abnormal growth or gall. These tissue pockets provide shelter and nutrition for the maker, and although some can be unsightly blemishes on the host, others, like these brightly colored growths of cynipid wasps, are bizarrely beautiful additions to the otherwise green leaves. Photographed by Timothy Boomer, the macro images capture the imperceptible details of the galls, which appear like fairytale-style mushroom houses, prickly sea urchins, and fuzzy, striped domes. More Continue reading

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Sentrock Captures the Sights of Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood in a New Series About Mental Health
June 3, 2021

In honor of Mental Health Month this May, Chicago artist Joseph Perez, who works as Sentrock, created an illustrated series celebrating the people and scenes around his studio in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood. “I started doing it just for myself, to take an hour or two and share my thoughts or reflections for that day or the day prior,” he tells Colossal.
Lively, expressive, and deeply empathetic, the resulting illustrations draw on Sentrock’s background as a graffiti artist and his connection to those around him. More Continue reading

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Surreal Watercolor Illustrations Shake Back and Forth in Marija Tiurina’s Chaotic Stereograms
May 27, 2021

Longtime Colossal readers will recognize the surreal, fictionalized scenes illustrated by Marija Tiurina (previously). Whether a bizarre mishmash of thoughts from quarantine or a crowded parallel universe in North London, Tiurina’s works are a seemingly endless exploration of mystery, delight, and general chaos, themes the London-based illustrator continues in her new series Stereogramos—the title is a portmanteau blending the “Spanish world for a bouquet (of endless objects and limbs, in my case) and ‘-os’ ending that is typical to the worlds of plural female form in Lithuanian language,” she says. More Continue reading

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A 15-Meter-Tall Squirrel Rests on Its Bushy Tail to Peer into a Chongqing Botanical Garden
April 30, 2021

The oversized animal menagerie by Florentijn Hofman that includes a fox, octopus, and reclining bunny now has a new member. The Dutch artist recently completed a 15-meter-tall squirrel caught peeking into a botanical garden in Chongqing, China. Covered in 16,500 metal discs and propped up by its extraordinarily bushy tail, the cheerful creature waves at the visitors indoors and even flashes a peace sign with its paw. More Continue reading

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Essential Books: 7 Noteworthy Surveys of Outsider Art
April 28, 2021

Call it what you will—outsider art, folk art, visionary art, outlier art—but the artists associated with these overlapping and sometimes conflicting rubrics have two things in common: They are all visual autodidacts—self-taught, if you prefer—compelled for one reason or the next to create works of often astonishing impact. Continue reading

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The Best Photo Boards for Your Studio, Office, or Home
April 16, 2021

Let’s not pretend: We will always have and love picture frames. But that doesn’t mean they are always the best option. Photo boards are a nice alternative, offering a decorative look, exceptional ease in changing photos, and the freedom to artfully arrange. Not only handy pieces of home decor, they can serve a purpose for […] Continue reading

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Black-and-White Photos by Daniel Tjongari Frame the Dramatic Landscape of Indonesia’s Sawarna Beach

Between 2015 and 2019, Indonesian photographer Daniel Tjongari made multiple treks to a complex of white sand beaches that sit adjacent to the Indian Ocean. He wanted to capture the fluctuating coastal area over time, a project that resulted in a series of dramatic, ethereal images highlighting the beauty of the region. Through monochromatic shots—he shares photographer Elliot Erwitt’s understanding that “color is destructive. Black-and-white is interpretative”—Tjongari frames the rocky expanses and waterfalls of Sawarna Beach in various states, whether shrouded in thick fog or experiencing a brief moment of calm. More Continue reading

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Majestic Photos by Michael Shainblum Frame Yosemite National Park through Rainbow Mist and Thick Fog
March 17, 2021

New photographs by Michael Shainblum (previously) capitalize on the grandeur of Yosemite National Park and cast it in an ethereal light. Shot in winter just after a dusting of snow, the series is serene and dream-like and spotlights the details that sometimes are lost in the vast wilderness: rainbow mist envelops a waterfall, dense fog hangs among a mountain top, and the warm glow of golden hour radiates across a rocky ridge. More Continue reading

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