Proof That Science Books Can Be Beautiful

Behold
The Photo Blog
Oct. 1 2012 1:45 PM

Proof That Science Books Can Be Beautiful

Welcome! Behold is Slate's newest, most visual blog.  Follow us on Twitter @beholdphotos  and via Tumblr at beholdphotos.tumblr.com.

Observatory, 2012. Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC
Observatory, 2012. (Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC)

In his new exhibition Beautiful Evidence, artist Thomas Allen conjures a magical realm out of mid-20th Century book illustrations. After countless hours of scavenging, cutting, and staging, Allen crafts new worlds by juxtaposing characters in unexpected, clever new ways. Allen places cut-out characters popular when he was a child onto scientific illustrations from the collection of vintage children’s books, encyclopedias, primary readers he started amassing in grad school. The whimsical interactions created by Allen's adept hand prove that science class can be beautifully fun.

Below, Allen shared notes with us about each of his latest creations. All photographs by Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery.

Bearings, 2012: "If you know how to find the North Star (the tip of the tail of Ursa Minor), you will never be lost."

Bearings,” 2012: If you know how to find the North Star (the tip of the tail of Ursa Minor), you will never be lost. Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC

Advertisement

Cloudburst, 2012: "This is my daughter— a dreamer with an imagination so big that her feet rarely touch the ground."

“Cloudburst,” 2012: This is my daughter— a dreamer with an imagination so big that her feet rarely touch the ground. Thomas Allen/ Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC.

Discovery, 2012: "The exact moment when everything becomes perfectly clear."

Discovery, 2012: The exact moment when everything becomes perfectly clear.  Thomas Allen/ Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC.

Eclipsed, 2012: "A temporary absence of light."

Eclipsed, 2012: A temporary absence of light.

Observatory, 2012: "Secretly satisfying one's curiosity."

“Observatory,” 2012: Secretly satisfying one's curiosity. Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC

Opposition, 2012: "The process of placing each planet into its proper orbit."

Opposition,” 2012: The process of placing each planet into its proper. Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC

Starstruck, 2012: "A symbol of milk tipping his hat to another."

Starstruck,” 2012: A symbol of milk tipping his hat to another.  Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery, NYC

Beautiful Evidence is on view through October 14 at Foley Gallery's new location at 97 Allen Street, in New York City.

What is Behold and where did Magnum Today's Pictures go? Find out here.

More Slideshows You May Enjoy

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.