Arts and Entertainment

The Miniature Art Museum: [Even in the Big Apple,] Small is Beautiful

A review of The Miniature Art Museum: Small is Beautiful NYC.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hidden within the shadows of the monolithic Manhattan skyscrapers lies a little museum set out to prove that even in the Big Apple, small can be beautiful. In this tiny universe, miniature figurines are busy at work in their own little world, from builders painting mushrooms the size of erasers to LEGO minifigures performing as The Beatles. With each scene transporting the onlooker into a world of its own, the Miniature Art Museum’s brand-new exhibit, Small Is Beautiful, is a must-see, even if you have to squint. 

After a successful run in both Paris and London, the exhibit has finally arrived in New York. Featuring the work of 32 artists from around the world, the pieces offer a playful, comedic message. Located on 718 Broadway, the museum stretches the ground floor and basement of the building. The gallery begins with miniature models and figurines, all made out of clay, hand sculpted, and painted. The pieces are displayed on pedestals, while zoomed-in pictures of the pieces hang on the wall behind them. Continuing toward the stairs, there is a collection of LEGO builds ranging from a Hobbit hole to a floating spacecraft, each scene interspersed with figurines in various positions, from hoisting comparatively massive grapes over their heads to fighting over a dollar bill. The first floor concludes with photographs of small art creations, including a shoelace Loch Ness Monster captured in a puddle and a figurine no bigger than a penny sitting on a miniature bench. 

Down the stairs in the basement, the mood shifts to a far more serious one. Handcrafted miniature dioramas glow under spotlights in the dimly lit rooms. From an old abandoned 60s diner to a billionaire’s bathroom, the models are incredibly intricate, each detail well-crafted. The exhibit features pieces ranging from the size of a shoebox to that of a large Victorian dollhouse; each diorama offers an escape into the artist's mind and has a corresponding plaque explaining their vision. Back on the first floor is the final part of the exhibit, featuring miscellaneous projects so small they must be viewed through a magnifying glass, from tiny origami birds to the Avengers infinity gauntlet carved into the graphite tip of a pencil. 

The exhibits work together to highlight the diminutive art style, which dates back to ancient Egypt. Through miniature models, the pieces offer insight into the smaller details of life and play with the idea of point of view, limited only by the artists’ imaginations. The gallery’s diverse selection of work ensures that there is something for everyone.

The Miniature Art Museum: Small is Beautiful is a great—albeit small—addition to NYC’s many museums, offering an introduction to diminutive artistic creations for people of all ages.