World's Largest Display of LEGO® Art at the Cincinnati Museum Center
The Art of the Brick, a traveling exhibition now at the Cincinnati Museum Center, has broad appeal. Anyone who has ever played with LEGO® bricks and dreamed about the masterpiece they could build if only they had thousands of bricks, will find something to love. My three teenagers grew up playing with LEGO® sets, so I brought them with me to explore this exhibition.
We started by watching a video about the artist. We learned that Nathan Sawaya grew up playing with LEGO® bricks, and then went to art school. He then took a career detour, attended law school, and then practiced as an attorney before returning to his childhood passions of art and LEGO®. He was the first professional artist to use LEGO® bricks as a medium.
In the first gallery, titled Paint by Brick, we saw famous paintings recreated using LEGO® bricks, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Rembrandt’s Self Portrait, and Monet’s Starry Night.
As we wandered through the gallery and into the next room, the “paintings” magically grew into three dimensions.
We loved Sawaya’s take on The Scream, by Edvard Munch. This was definitely a favorite because we had the opportunity to view the original Munch painting on a trip to Oslo, Norway, several years ago.
The next gallery included recreations of famous sculptures. My daughter quickly noticed that an African mask had been adorned with LEGO® people. So creative! The largest sculpture in the collections is made of 75,450 bricks!
In The Artist’s Studio, we were introduced to Sawaya’s original pieces and got a glimpse into his creative mind. Just as when I’ve viewed other great contemporary works of art, I found myself in awe of the mind that conjured up these creations.
Here are two different viewpoints of the same piece. Fascinating!
Nathan Sawaya’s favorite subject is the human form. It was amazing to see so much emotion conveyed through plastic bricks.
We were entranced by In Pieces, an innovative collaboration between Nathan Sawaya and photographer Dean West. You have to look closely to see which parts are real and which are LEGO® creations.
The Art of the Brick has four exhibitions traveling the world. For each city, Sawaya creates a custom piece. For Cincinnati, it was a flying pig.
The exhibition is hands-off except for the interactive Brickopolis room where visitors are encouraged to build their own creations.
My kids and I loved The Art of the Brick and were inspired by Nathan Sawaya’s creativity. I love how a friend described the exhibition: “If you have ever stepped on a LEGO® while barefooted at 3 a.m., this show will make you forgive and forget.”
The Art of the Brick will remain at the Cincinnati Museum Center through May 1, 2016. Tickets are $19.50 for adults, $12.50 for children, and $17.50. Members of the museum receive a discounted price of $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for children.
Thanks to the Cincinnati Museum Center for providing complimentary tickets to me and my kids so that I could research and write this article.