In the beginning, long before Netflix and Google Maps, our ancestors had only the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars to guide, dazzle and humble them. Naturally, as religions began to form, the first place to look was up, because surely that’s where the deities dwell, right? And that yearning to better understand the firmament begat a study of the celestial patterns and instruments to bring them closer into view.

In the same way that holy men attempt to explain the import of worlds and beings we cannot see, “The Universe and Art,” an exhibition appropriately staged in a museum perched 53 floors above Tokyo, is ambitious to say the least. It endeavors to somehow convey the evolution of humankind’s understanding of the universe, and that’s a lot of air to cover.

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