To those who don’t follow the art world closely—and even to those that do—it can seem that the current art scene is lacking in truly brilliant, unique artists like we were once used to.
That idea couldn’t be further from the truth. There are still plenty of people creating visual and conceptual masterpieces that are absolutely worth your time.
In fact, these 22 brilliant works of contemporary art push boundaries and will open your mind. Are you ready to see these future classics?
1. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei created this piece called “Forever Bicycles” using 1,500 bicycles, symbolizing the freedom to move.
2. This giant rabbit is the work of Florentin Hofman, who made a name for himself with a larger-than-life rubber duck. Titled “Sunbathing Hare,” it can be found, appropriately enough, on Hare Island in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The hare is 15 meters long, eight meters wide, two-and-a-half meters high, and covered with a thin wood veneer with pink, orange, green, and gray paint.
3. Canadian artist Myriam Dion created this piece out of newspapers cut into complex lace panels. How intricate are those designs?
4. This home in the British town of Margate was completely disheveled, but artist Alex Chinnek had an elegant solution: turn it into a work of art! Alex used the ruins of the house as a base to make it look as though the house’s facade was sliding into the ground.
5. This Bangkok installation, called “What Will You Leave Behind,” is made up of 100,000 porcelain skulls. Would you really want to leave behind a trail of death in your wake?
6. This maze of mirrors is probably much scarier at night. Can you imagine how confused passerby will be whenever they try to wander through this park?
Located in Sydney, Australia’s Hyde Park, the mirror maze is massive and surreal. As you can see, it also makes for great selfie opportunities!
7. A creative team named Everyware, which was founded by Hyunwoo Bang and Yunsil Heo in Seoul, South Korea, allows kids and adults to not just live out their fantasy of touching clouds, but to manipulate them, too.
8. Here’s another work of art that’s pretty mind-blowing. Mexican artist Pedro Reyes built drums, keyboards, and wind instruments from various firearms.
9. This colored water tower must look absolutely stunning in the daytime when the beams of sunlight pass through it! It adds just a little color to an otherwise drab Brooklyn skyline.
American artist Tom Fruin used colored plexiglass to build this water tower, which was inspired by the water towers that populate New York City rooftops.
10. Another New York artist, Agata Olek, took this extraordinary project that originated in St. Petersburg to her home city.
She decorated a shopping center, as well as a number of sculptures nearby. Look at how colorful her work is! It looks like her art reflects her own fashion style, too.
11. Now here’s one you don’t see everyday. How can a fountain have a fire, you ask? It certainly doesn’t seem possible… at least, not according to any physics we’re familiar with!
Artist Jeppe Hein named this installation “Water Flame,” and it’s meant to show how two opposing elements—fire and water—can coexist without interfering with each other. She hasn’t revealed her secret, but experts believe that she’s flowing natural gas through the water.
12. Though constructed entirely of glass, this tree appears to be three-dimensional. It also looks as if it’s floating in the air.
Turkish artist Ardan Ozmenoglu uses common, fragile materials—such as glass or paper—and turns them into extraordinary pieces like this. To truly appreciate it, though, you’d have to look at it in person from different angles.
13. Volunteers joined British artists Andy Moss and Jamie Wardley to create more than 9,000 silhouettes of fallen soldiers on the coast of Normandy.
Of course, it’s meant to represent the horrors of war, and it honors the events of D-Day on Normandy’s beaches during World War II.
14. Can you believe that this image came from an ordinary office computer? It looks like some sort of electromagnetic current, doesn’t it?
This is the work of artist Benjamin Muzzin, who finds ways to transform ordinary monitors into moving 3D sculptures.
15. American sculptor Morgan Herrin calls this surreal piece “Knight.” Can you guess what it’s made of?
In order to make it, Herrin combined the armored looks of the 15th century with the stalactite and stalagmite structures often found in caves.
16. Here is the iconic image of the baby Jesus’ birth, with Mary and Joseph surrounding him. Look closely, though. Dutch sculptor Suzanne Raseler made these exquisite sculptures out of something incredibly fine…
You guessed it—it’s made of sand! Her works are incredibly complex, and require painstaking attention to detail.
17. This sculpture almost looks like a living, breathing thing. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see the entire thing is made out of dice!
Isn’t it incredible how German artist Anthony Cragg was able to create such a complicated structure using such simple materials?
18. This looks like every little kid’s dream! Artist Iza Rutkowska created this giant Teddy bear in Warsaw, Poland.
Anyone is welcome to hug, sit on, or cuddle with the bear! How cool would it be to just lounge around with a book here?
19. Ai Weiwei, the artist who also created the “Forever Bicycles” piece that we saw earlier, calls this work “Bicycles for All.” Believe it or not, it’s made out of 3,144 bikes – that’s over twice as many as Weiwei’s earlier work!
20. African mosaic artist Gerhard Marx collaborated with the architectural studio Spier to create this massive mosaic sculpture, weighing in at three tons! It took five months to assemble, with each piece made out of stone.
21. The Giraffe Childcare Center can be found in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. This must be pretty fun to look at, albeit shocking for those who aren’t familiar with the sculpture (and think it’s a real giraffe).
The center features other animals, too, like this playful bear whose cage seems a bit too small for his size. All in all, the building can house up to 60 children and 20 nursery beds.
22. Artist Matt Buckley created a series of sculptures of mythical creatures and animals, including this snarling wolf.
The beasts that he’s sculpted also include a king cobra, a dragon, and even a unicorn. Yikes!
There’s no shortage of talent to be found around the world. Hopefully each one of these artists gets the worldwide recognition they deserve!
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