Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

It's nearly Christmas so everything is beautiful, from the lights decking every inch of your neighborhood to the fact that you're about to get a little vacation. But we also had plenty of things to show you this week, from our favorite Instagram accounts to a tunnel to the sky in a Manhattan train station, and so much more. Here are our favorite, eye-popping posts from this week:


The Instagram Accounts We Loved This Year

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013

Not every Instagram account is pictures of semi-famous tweens or farm-to-table food. There are some very artful, very niche accounts out there that we adore simply for their aesthetic merits. We've compiled a catalog of the ones we follow so you can too.


These awesome images from another dimension have not been photoshopped

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

These are the amazing light paintings of Tackyshack, who is really taking this art form to a complete new level. Some of the amazing images in this small collection of his work are crazy psychedelia. Other look like Alice in Wonderland landscapes. And the one above—playing with shadows and subtle abstract shapes—looks like entrances to alternate dimensions.


The Story Behind the Only Sculpture on the Moon Is a Doozy

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013

In 1971, an astronaut placed a 3 1/2-inch aluminum sculpture on the moon, igniting an art world scandal transcending our earthly bearings. The long, bizarre tale of "one of the smallest yet most extraordinary achievements of the Space Age" is recounted by Corey Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro over at Slate.


Tiny, Intricate Trees Cut From Discarded Shopping Bags

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013

We collectively use about a million plastic bags a minute, a figure that will peak during next week's holiday rush. As you're sitting around in a post-Christmas funk next week, consider following the lead of Japanese artist Yuken Teruya, who carves tiny, perfect trees out of the flimsy walls of old shopping bags.


The Monolithic Sculptures of Data Viz Whiz Edward Tufte

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

Edward Tufte is a data viz pioneer, well-known for making complex information easy to parse. But the man is also fascinated with manipulating the physical world; he has transformed the rolling hills and wooded terrain of Hogpen Hill Farms in rural Connecticut into a 234-acresculpture garden that's like a modern-day Stonehenge—if those pre-historic folks had access to I-beams, Airstream trailers, and Richard Feynman diagrams.


The Insane Morgan Freeman iPad Painting: An Investigation in Four Acts

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013

If you've been on the internet in the past month, chances are you've seen a remarkably lifelike portrait of Morgan Freeman painted entirely with the iPad app Procreate. it's so unbelievably similar to the photo that inspired it that many have, quite literally, been unable to believe their eyes. But is there any credence to the deniers' claims?


Bizarre New Art Project Stalks Shaquille O'Neal for Custom "Dunk Rig"

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013

What if, instead of marketing to a general demographic, you marketed to a specific individual? What if, instead of waiting for a patron to commission new work, an artist simply designed it based on someone's psychological profile? If an online ad asked for you by name, could you resist?


Watch the MTA Assemble a Prismatic Tunnel To The Sky

The Fulton Street Transit Center currently being built in the Financial District of Manhattan is shaping up to be not only the biggest place to catch a train in the five boroughs, but also the coolest. Where normally you'd expect the MTA to build tunnels through the ground, at Fulton Street they've assembled one to the sky.


Check Out These Pigmented Fish, Like Creatures Made from Neon Lights

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

Because it never gets boring to look inside creatures, living or dead, here's Cleared: a photo series by Adam Summers that straddles the super-narrow divide between science and art, showing deceased fish in various states of transparency to expose their complex insides.


Behold the Monstrous Beauty of This Year's Coolest Microscopic Images

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

Mouse brains! Bat embryos! Hungry algae! Today, Olympus unveiled the winners of the tenth annual BioScapes photography competition, which showcases the best photography captured through light microscopes. The top ten were chosen from a mind-boggling 2,100 entries.


The Billion-Dollar Megaprojects That Will Transform NYC By 2030

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

As Michael Bloomberg's reign comes to a close, our mayor/billionaire underwriter is talking up his next move, which involves teaching other cities to be more like New York. But behind the scenes, he's also scrambling to push through dozens of building projects that will define his legacy.


27 Cutaway Drawings That Show All the Secrets of Buildings

Most Beautiful Items: December 13 - 20, 2013S

Cutaway or cross-section drawings are mostly just fancy residues of a long-gone era when engineering and architecture visualisation was based on hand-drawn images that were often closer to art than boring illustration.