The Top Ten Colossal Stories Readers Loved Most in 2023

December 13, 2023


Image © Laurent Ballesta

As we approach the end of 2023, we’re revisiting some of the top stories we wrote about this year. From enormous kinetic beach creatures to a trove of salvaged historic photographs, our readers’ most-loved projects illustrate a diverse array of mediums, ideas, and groundbreaking discoveries.


Image © Theo Jansen

A Wind-Powered Herd of Beach Animals Merge Into a Storm Defense System in Theo Jansen’s Latest ‘Strandbeest’

An 18-meter-long Strandbeest scuttles across the sands of a beach in The Netherlands in a short video by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who has been releasing his otherworldly creatures into the world each year since 1990.


Photo by Diego Lourenço Gurgel, courtesy of Vinicius Peripato

More Than 10,000 Indigenous Earthworks Hidden in the Amazon Reveal Human Connections to the Forest Over Millennia

Researchers Vinicius Peripato and Luiz Aragão of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research led surveys that identified 24 previously undocumented earthworks in the Amazon basin, with results suggesting that between 10,000 and 24,000 sites remain undiscovered across Amazonia’s 2.59 million square miles.


Image courtesy of Terri Cappucci

A Photo Preservationist Saved a Trove of 4,000 Glass Plate Negatives That Nearly Went Into the Trash

In 2019, Terri Cappucci, a photographer and preservationist based in Massachusetts, stumbled upon a veritable treasure trove of 4,000 glass plates spanning the 1860s to the 1930s that had been destined for the trash.


Photo by Shiinoki Shunsuke / AMKK. Image © Azuma Makoto

Azuma Makoto’s Temporary Sculptures Freeze Hundreds of Flowers on a Snow-Coated Lake

On a frozen lake in the Notsuke Peninsula, a tendril of land that juts out from Hokkaido’s east coast, acclaimed floral artist Azuma Makoto has constructed the third botanical sculpture in an ongoing series called Frozen Flowers.


Image courtesy of Robert van Embricqs

A Wooden Artwork Miraculously Unfurls into a Functional Desk Designed by Robert van Embricqs

The surge in remote work during the last few years prompted Amsterdam-based designer Robert van Embricqs to rethink how conventional desks would impact a home’s atmosphere.


Image © Laurent Ballesta

Laurent Ballesta’s Luminous Photographs Reveal the Astounding Diversity of Ocean Life

The earth’s oceans are mindbogglingly expansive, and less than 20 percent has been mapped, explored, or seen by humans. For Laurent Ballesta, the underwater world provides an endless stream of remarkable aquatic personalities.


Image © the artist, courtesy of Galleria Continua

In His Largest LEGO Work To Date, Ai Weiwei Recreates One of Claude Monet’s Most Famous Paintings

Ai Weiwei challenges our perceptions of natural beauty and reality, replacing brush strokes with plastic bricks redolent of digital pixels, using a more saturated color palette, and embedding shadows that evoke a hint of unease.


Image © Anthimos Ntagkas

Photos of Everyday Activities Reveal the Humor of Perspective and Serendipitous Alignments

One of the joys of street photography is that it reveals just how often unexpected, serendipitous juxtapositions are happening around us. Whether in Tel Aviv, New York, or Athens, Anthimos Ntagkas has a keen eye for these everyday alignments as he captures strange and amusing sights during his travels.


“Creación de las aves (Creation of the Birds)” (1957), Museo de Arte Moderno, INBAL/Secretaría de Cultura. Photo by Rodrigo Chapa. © 2023 Remedios Varo, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

A Major Exhibition Materializes Surrealist Artist Remedios Varo’s Alchemical Visions

More than 60 of Remedios Varo’s paintings, sketches, and sculptures went on view at a U.S. museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, for the first time in 23 years. The enchanting works evidence the artist’s esoteric affinities and are rife with unexpected magic.


Image © Mikko Lagerstedt

Mikko Lagerstedt Photographs the Quiet Grandeur of Snowy Nordic Landscapes

Underneath soft light from the moon or the early morning sun, Finnish photographer Mikko Lagerstedt captures the quiet magic and mystery of Nordic landscapes.




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