The Smallest of Worlds

October 9, 2013–August 31, 2014


THE SMALLEST OF WORLDS showcased a selection of intricate dioramas from the collection of celebrated San Francisco artist Rex May. The four dioramas that were on display capture everyday Mexican street scenes such as a flower market and a cantina, with figures created by the Aguilar family, artisans from Oaxaca. The installation was inspired by the unique aesthetic of Rex May’s home, in which these dioramas were displayed amongst his vast collection of artwork.

I served as the lead graphic designer on this modest gallery rotation, providing the mark, typography, and graphics. In a rare turn of events, I also named the exhibit.

Identity + Mark  |  Graphic Design

in gallery


Since this installation was a smaller art gallery rotation, it was quickly decided that the mark would be comprised of the Oakland Museum of California's primary institutional typeface, Benton Sans, albeit in a unique way. The reversal of emphasis suggests taking a closer look at these delicate miniature dioramas.

Casework inspired by the elaborate Victorian shelves in Rex May's home was developed by Dirk Dieter. The diorama niches were bathed in blue twilight from the rear by LEDs.

The primary mural consisted of a forced perspective photograph of the interior of Rex May's San Francisco home, at nearly live-size scale.

An additional diorama was installed in a separate vitrine to tell the story of the preparation and conservation work involved in displaying these delicate works of art.

This cantina scene was recreated as an interactive in which visitors may play the role of museum registrar, following an artifact key to position the figurines in their proper places.