20 Art-Related Guinness World Records Broken Recently

Casey Lesser
Dec 21, 2016 7:15PM

In light of it being year’s end—traditionally a time to reflect on accomplishments (or failings, as the case may be)—we caught up with the team at Guinness World Records to hear more about art-related records that have been set or broken in recent years. These 20 undertakings include spirited community efforts and eccentric individual feats, from an art lesson for 14,135 people to an art gallery 14,000 feet above sea level. The superlatives may just inspire you to set a creative record of your own.

Highest contemporary art gallery

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

The world’s highest contemporary art gallery is The Nautilus, located about 14,000 feet above sea level in a tent at Plaza de Mulas, the base camp on the western face of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Established by artist Miguel Doura in 2003, the gallery officially broke the world record in November 2010. Make the trek and you’ll see Doura’s oil pastel paintings, a medium that fares well in the extreme weather conditions. It’s open from early December through early March—climbing season—since, unsurprisingly, Doura has a passion for mountaineering.

Largest spray paint mural by a team

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.


To coincide with the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra and a team of artists spent 45 days creating this spray-paint mural spanning an abandoned warehouse in the city’s port district. Depicting five faces of different indigenous peoples, the mural is 51 feet high and 560 feet wide; it required 180 buckets of acrylic paint and 2,800 cans of spray paint.

Most bodies painted

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

At Woodstock Festival Poland, the annual free rock festival in Kostrzyn nad Odrą, Poland, the Polish mobile provider Play sponsored a plan to break the world record for most bodies painted. In July 2015, it took two hours for artists on site to paint 497 people from head to toe.

Largest bowl made of porcelain

In Guangdong, Chinese ceramist Huang Yuming created the world’s largest porcelain bowl, standing more than four feet high, with a diameter at its rim of more than eight and a half feet. It took Huang six years to figure out how to successfully create the bowl, which he finally finished in March 2015.

Largest chalk pavement art

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

With the arts organization Soulwash, artist Emil Klem led an effort in August 2015 that saw some 25,000 people participate in creating one giant work of chalk art on Copenhagen’s busy Northbridge Street. The work, a giant arrow filled with drawings of various designs, stretched over 1,420 yards in length, coming in at more than 200,180 square feet—breaking the previous record by more than 107,000 square feet.

Tallest sandcastle

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

In October 2015, American sand sculptor Ted Siebert created this nearly 46 foot-tall sandcastle in Virginia Key Beach, Miami. Sponsored by Turkish Airlines, Sibert worked with a team of 19 to build the sandy structure.

Smallest toothpick sculpture

In December 2014, artist Steven J. Backman set the record for smallest toothpick sculpture with his 0.782-inch-tall replica of the Empire State Building. An engineer from the New York State Society of Professional Engineers even confirmed that the work has the exact proportions of the real building. Backman, an avid toothpick sculptor, had made the work in 2008 from just one toothpick. It took him eight hours.

Largest coloring book

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

The Polish yogurt company Danonki sponsored the creation of this huge 129-square-foot coloring book, which set the record in June 2016 in Warsaw.

Longest anamorphic pavement art

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

In October 2016, Chinese artist Yang Yongchun set the record for the largest and longest of these mind-bending pavement murals, this one stretching over 1,285 feet. Created over the course of six weeks, the optical illusion was sponsored by Nine Color Rose Town, a new tourist attraction in Lijiang, in China’s Yunnan province.

Most artists contributing to the same painting simultaneously

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, the Fundación Olga Sinclair worked with the Panama Canal Authority to create a monumental artwork to honor the historic occasion. In January 2014, they organized 5,084 people—including thousands of children—to work on a painting that covered over 21,500 square feet and was later displayed outside of the Panama Canal Administration Building.

Largest art lesson

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

In November 2014, an immense crowd of 14,135 people partook in an art lesson in Indore, India, where they each completed a work of art. The lesson was orchestrated by a group from the largest service club organization in the world, Lions Club International.

Most pots thrown in one hour by an individual

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

This past March, Joel Cherrico threw 159 pots in one hour. After working on his craft for over 10,000 hours, he set the world record at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Key to his success was the kickwheel, a pottery wheel inspired by Japanese traditions and powered manually by methodically kicking it into motion with the potter’s foot.

Largest cardboard sculpture

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

Mounted in Kowloon, Hong Kong, in April 2016, this cardboard castle maze spans 33.32 feet by 33.255 feet. Decorated by local art students, the sculpture was created in honor of the opening of the D-Park Mall.

Largest painting made by footprints

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

More than 900 people were involved in making this giant painting, measuring over 25,300 square feet, using only their feet. In November 2016, employees from DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited created it over the course of a month at the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

Largest mural from recycled material

Some three years into the Syrian civil war, in January 2014, Syrian artist Moaffak Makhoul set a world record for his stunning 720-square-foot mural made from castoff materials including metal cans, broken mirrors, and bicycle wheels. Created over six months outside a primary school in the capital city of Damascus, Makhoul, with the help of six other artists, sought to offer people a work of art and some levity amid the city’s harsh conditions.

Longest painting

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

Measuring more than 35,000 feet in length, the world’s longest painting was created by 20,000 students in Dubai through an initiative sponsored by the holding company Al Tayer Group and the Dubai Autism Centre. Finished by students in December 2015, the piece was the result of an eight-month campaign to increase awareness about autism.

Largest paper sculpture

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

Students of Greater Peterborough University Technical College teamed up with U.K. water company Anglian Water to create this 11.6-foot-tall pyramid sculpture from paper. Constructed at the college in Peterborough, England, the sculpture took two days to build.

Longest photographic negative

In Beijing, August 2015, Argentine artist Esteban Pastorino Diaz created the world’s longest photographic negative, measuring over 260 feet long. With the sponsorship of Chinese taxi-calling app Didi Dache as well as Mercedes-Benz, Diaz (who was also the previous record holder) used a special panoramic camera to shoot the city’s historic second ring road.

Largest paintbrush

Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records.

Last December in Bluffton, South Carolina, three leaders of LCC KIDZ 2015 Summer Art Camp spearheaded the creation of a massive paintbrush measuring 37.8 feet and weighing 171 pounds. The camp, a community outreach program, aims to spark creativity and instill in kids a long-lasting interest in the arts.

Largest photo mosaic

Over the course of eight hours this past October in Chongqing, China, 220 volunteers assembled a mosaic made from 29,728 photographs, each 12 by 10 inches. In total, the mosaic measures over 22,000 square feet, and it colorfully depicts the city’s towering skyline.

Casey Lesser
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Associate Director of Content.
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019