A Survey of the World’s Biggest Artworks


Perhaps you heard that Christo recently revived his plan to build the biggest artwork of all time ? Before the passing of his partner in love and art Jeanne-Claude, the duo began to scheme about a work of massive magnitude. Constructed from 410,000 variously-hued oil barrels, the proposed beast would tower around 492 feet high and glow golden in the sunlight. And now, it might actually be happening in, where else, but Abu Dhabi. That will make all those orange-draped bridges, umbrella-dabbed fields, and purple-wrapped islands look pretty wimpy, won’t it? On that ambitious note, we’ve hauled in a few artworks known for their size. Not all of them are particularly aesthetically appealing, but damn, they’re big! But is bigger necessarily better? You decide. Spoiler: We’re a little biased.

Photo credit: Phaidon

Back to the GIANT ORANGE THING. Unlike Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s previous grand endeavors, this epic installation will be a permanent one. At this scale, does that make Mastaba a gigantic geometric sculpture or an architectural monument? Either way, the structure will be taller than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome or Great Pyramid at Giza, but…

…it won’t bigger than Mount Rushmore, America-a-a-a, fuck yeah! Featuring four, 60-foot faces of dead presidents, and taking up almost 1,300 acres, this very big sculpture monument attracts three million visitors a year.

Photo credit: Jim Denevan

Well, this is beautiful! San Francisco-based land artist Jim Denevan and his assistants created these icy loops and circular designs over frozen, snow-covered Lake Baikal in Siberia. It takes up nine square miles. The ephemeral work was “painted” with sweeping. Denevan also made other wintery land art with stomping, if that’s more your pace.

Photo credit: Banksy Forums

Unlike its fancy pants cousin “street art,” graffiti is motivated by the drive to put your name on things, legally or otherwise, as many things as possible, everywhere, all city, etc. That’s why SABER’s masterful piece in the bed of the Los Angeles River — often argued to be the world’s biggest — was such a big deal. And then it was buffed by the authorities. Boo.

Photo credit: Forbes

Speaking of putting your name on things, holy crap! Never mind then. Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan has hired laborers to dig deep canals forming “the biggest graffiti tag the world has ever seen.” Behold his two-mile wide insignia! Behold HAMAD! Alright, show off. Where else but Abu Dhabi? Whoa. Déjà vu.

Photo credit: Terapixel

And this freshly launched monster right here is Daniel Richter’s first “Terapixel” photograph. It is made up of 36,000 extreme high resolution images combined using “multiviewpoint Gigapixel” technology. It’s a digital photograph with moveable, rotating parts and it’s a whopping 40 x 272,210px

× 92,970px (H). With visual capabilities that massive and opulent, you’d think they’d pick something more interesting to look at than a “locomotive.”

According to The Guinness Book of World Records, this is the world’s largest, longest “3D” street painting, created by 3D Joe & Max over 12,490 square feet of the Canary district in London. It’s utterly terrifying.

Tired of looking at things from above yet? Well, you can’t exactly prop this baby up. Or rather, this mama. Here’s the 2006 Guinness World Record holder for biggest painting done by a single artist, David Aberg’s 86,000-square-foot Mother Earth in the beautiful outdoors of Angelholm, Sweden. It’s also terrifying, but for different reasons. Yikes.

Photo credit: Crooked Brains

Alright, let’s get weirder. Here’s the Guinness World Record holder for “Largest TV sculpture,” spanning 33,744.85 square feet with 2,903 television sets, constructed by Lithuanian artist Gintaras Karosas in the Open Air Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania — which is apparently a forest. A magical forest of television sets!

And now, the toast of the town… Sorry, sorry. Here’s the world’s biggest portrait made out of toast by museum curator Laura Hadland. She created this portrait of her mother-in-law with 9,852 slices of toast. It’s 32’8″ x by 42’3″. That is a lot of toast. If you think that’s very silly indeed, we would like to remind you that Christo is building a gigantic, permanent trapezoidal pyramid in the desert from oil barrels and everyone seems to be very excited about it. The end.