Top of the Stack: Colossal’s Favorite Art Books of 2022
November 28, 2022

As we near the end of 2022, we’re taking a look back at the year, starting with the books we found most compelling, impressive, and inspirational. We’ve published dozens of articles on artist monographs and compendiums of broader topics across art and design and science and history over the last 12 months, and these are the 10 titles that impacted us most.
Head to Bookshop to browse all 25 books on our list, including the highly anticipated Hilma AF Klint Catalogue Raisonné, a glimpse into rarely-seen works by Ruth Asawa, and a dive into the history of protest art. More

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Top of the Stack: Colossal’s Favorite Art Books of 2022 appeared first on Colossal.

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Vibrant Patterns Envelop Dozens of Mythical Animal Sculptures That Explore the Folk Art Traditions of Mexico
November 22, 2022

In Guardians, artists María del Carmen Mendoza Méndez and Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda, of Jacobo and Maria Ángeles Workshop, pay homage to the mythical creatures of their Oaxacan childhoods. The husband-wife duo carves the soft wood of the copal tree into fantastical creatures that reference Mesoamerican spirituality and Mexican folk art, including the sculptures known as alebrijes. They refer to the unearthly characters as Tonas and Nahuales and cloak the birds, butterflies, and beasts in vibrant patterns and Zapotec symbols. More

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Vibrant Patterns Envelop Dozens of Mythical Animal Sculptures That Explore the Folk Art Traditions of Mexico appeared first on Colossal.

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Photographer Levon Biss Illuminates the Strange, Otherworldly Chrysalises of Butterfly Pupae
November 4, 2022

A photographer known for using the macro to investigate the micro, Levon Biss (previously) continues his explorations into the vast world of entomology. His recent butterfly pupae series centers on “the diversity of design and form” through illuminating portraits of approximately 30 specimens as they undergo metamorphosis and complete the final, most vulnerable stage of the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Otherworldly and bordering on the bizarre, many of the chrysalises have evolved to be deceptive in appearance, acting as necessary camouflage from potential predators by impersonating nearby plants and surroundings: some mimic the natural, like those that imitate a rotting plantain or mossy hunk of bark, while others are more artful, like those spotted with Kusama-esque dots or cloaked in a mirrored gold coating. More

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Photographer Levon Biss Illuminates the Strange, Otherworldly Chrysalises of Butterfly Pupae appeared first on Colossal.

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Wrought: A Mesmerizing Short Film Coaxes the Beneficial and Beautiful Sides of Rot and Decay
October 24, 2022


Decay is sometimes an unsightly signal that it’s time for last week’s leftovers to be expeditiously trashed, although not all spoiling leads to the compost bin or garbage. Bubbly juice and veins of mold are responsible for common fare like beer, cheese, kombucha, kimchi, and bread, and although our reactions of disgust tends to mask the more fruitful features of the decomposition process, spoiling can provide health benefits and also be visually stunning—we’re continually fascinated by Kathleen Ryan’s ability to blur the line between the beautiful and grotesque. More Continue reading

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This Year’s Small World Photo Contest Unveils the Astounding Details Only Visible Under the Light Microscope
October 15, 2022

For 48 years the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition has garnered some of the most awe-inspiring and illuminated images of all that’s visible once placed under a light microscope. The 2022 contest continues the tradition with a captivating collection that exposes the minuscule details of life on Earth. Winning images zero in on the prickly hairs covering a daddy long-legs, the trippy patterns of a marine snail’s tongue, and the tessellation-like heads of a slime mold. More Continue reading

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One of the Largest Louisiana Glass Recyclers Was Founded by College Students Who Are Rebuilding a Vanishing Coastline
October 11, 2022


The Louisiana coastline has undergone significant erosion in the last century, and one method of restoration involves rebuilding landforms and protecting areas with sand. Unfortunately, the world is simultaneously experiencing a massive shortage of the material—it’s the most-extracted and second most-used resource in the world—so it’s essential to find new, innovative methods of procuring the substance.
Glass Half Full, one of the largest recyclers of the material in Louisiana, is working toward this goal by turning bottles and other waste back into their original, granular form. More Continue reading

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Six Centuries, 700 Scientists, 300 Groundbreaking Milestones: A New Book Examines the Invaluable History of Science Illustrations
October 10, 2022

From medicine and biology to chemistry and astronomy, a massive new book published by Taschen chronicles the unparalleled contributions of illustrations to scientific study. Compiling more than 300 distinct charts, renderings, and graphs within its 436 pages, the volume opens with early developments like Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentrism, which positioned the sun at the center of the solar system. It then travels throughout the following six centuries, capturing everything from the use of anesthesia and zoological studies to current-day renderings of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. More Continue reading

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Sunlight Illuminates a Full Spectrum of Color As It Filters Through Hummingbird Wings in a New Photo Book
September 30, 2022

Poetry in the Sky is a fitting title for a book of the elegant images of Australian photographer Christian Spencer. Slated for release next month, the volume gathers approximately two decades’ worth birds Spencer encountered during visits to the Brazilian Amazon, including macaws, emus, and the species he’s perhaps most notable for documenting: the hummingbird.
Taken when the creatures are mid-flight and beating their wings at incredible speeds, Spencer’s striking photos capture sunlight as it filters through their feathers, emitting a full spectrum of color. More Continue reading

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The Ocean Cleanup Conceptualizes Its Third Massive Apparatus to Remove Trash from the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’
September 22, 2022


Sadly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a wide swath of ocean between the U.S. coast and Japan is an enormous vortex of trash. A gyre, or system of currents, surrounds the area and sucks debris and litter into its rotation, trapping hundreds of millions of kilograms of plastic waste within its 20 million square kilometers.
Back in 2018, The Ocean Cleanup engineered a slow-moving apparatus called System 001 designed to wade through the patch to retrieve garbage with a massive net. More Continue reading

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A New Book Plunges into the Vast Diversity of the World’s Oceans Across 3,000 Years
July 28, 2022

Despite thousands of years of research and an unending fascination with marine creatures, humans have explored only five percent of the oceans covering the majority of the earth’s surface. A forthcoming book from Phaidon dives into the planet’s notoriously vast and mysterious aquatic ecosystems, traveling across the continents and three millennia to uncover the stunning diversity of life below the surface.
Spanning 352 pages, Ocean, Exploring the Marine World brings together a broad array of images and information ranging from ancient nautical cartography to contemporary shots from photographers like Sebastião Salgado and David Doubilet. More Continue reading

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Bees Wrap Ava Roth’s Intricately Beaded and Embroidered Motifs in Golden Honeycomb
July 27, 2022

Seasons and the natural rhythms of bees determine much of Ava Roth’s practice, which hinges on collaborating with the fuzzy pollinators. The Ontario-based artist (previously) stitches elaborate embroideries with beads and intricate thread-based motifs that, once her contribution is complete, she turns over to her insect counterparts. The critters then finish the mixed-media pieces by embedding them in golden, hexagonal honeycomb.
Because the bees Roth works with only produce the waxy substance during the heat of the summer, the time available for inter-species cooperation is limited. More Continue reading

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An Elegant Timelapse of an Oak from Acorn to Tree in 196 Days
July 18, 2022

In this brief timelapse, a single acorn germinates from seed to sapling over a period of 196 days, transferred carefully from vessel to vessel as it sprouts. The simple yet wondrous clip is just one of many plant growing timelapse videos produced by Youtube channel Boxlapse (also on Instagram) where you’ll find a new clip almost every weekday. The clips include all manner of plants and fungi captured in interesting ways, including the growth of a mango tree over a yearlong period or the first 113 dragon fruit cactus, seen below. More Continue reading

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NASA’s Webb Space Telescope Reveals Astounding, Unprecedented Views of the Universe
July 12, 2022

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope unveiled its first-ever collection of high-resolution color images capturing an exceptional amount of detail about the universe. The instrument reaches deeper into the cosmos than any before.
Launched in December, Webb is the world’s largest and most powerful observer with the ability to view cosmic bodies like the atmospheres of exoplanets, or those outside our solar system, and some of the first galaxies to emerge following the Big Bang 13.5 billion years ago. More Continue reading

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Invisible Forces Vibrate and Quiver within Elaborately Constructed Fields of Magnets
July 1, 2022


Elaborately configured grids and systems capitalize on the immense power of neodymium magnets to visualize the invisible. A new collaborative video from Magnet Tricks and Magnetic Games demonstrates how shifting a single element can set an entire design in motion, prompting each component to shake and vibrate in response. A visually mesmerizing example of basic physics, the project is also a study of sound and its manipulable patterns, so make sure you turn your volume up. More Continue reading

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In ‘Extinct and Endangered,’ Photographer Levon Biss Magnifies the Potential Loss of Insects Around the Globe
June 28, 2022

Despite existing on separate continents thousands of miles apart, the Madeira brimstone and giant Patagonian bumblebee are experiencing similar hardships. The former, which inhabits the islands it inherits its name from, is dealing with an invasive species decimating the trees its caterpillars require pre-metamorphosis, while the latter has been struggling to survive in its native Chile after farmers introduced domesticated European bees to aid in crop pollination. Both species are in danger and are part of an ongoing exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History conveying what’s at stake if their species are lost entirely. More Continue reading

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Billions of Fireflies Light Up an Indian Wildlife Reserve in Rare Footage Captured by Sriram Murali
May 23, 2022

In many parts of the world, a warm summer evening sets the stage for a familiar sight: the lightning bug. Through a phenomenon called bioluminescence, these winged beetles are able to generate chemical reactions in a part of their abdomen known as the lantern. Of more than 2,000 species found throughout the world, only a handful coordinate their flashes into patterns and are known as synchronous fireflies. Photographer Sriram Murali captured a rare gathering of billions of these insects at the Anamali Tiger Reserve in western Tamil Nadu, India. More Continue reading

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