If you build it, they will come. And New York artist Nathan Sawaya has built some amazing sculptures out of common LEGO building bricks.
The Art of the Brick, an exhibition of Sawaya's work, will be on view from June 16 through September 5 at the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts at the Quadrangle in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Independent collectors of ARTKABINETT now possess yet another artistic medium to admire. Please do not scold your artistically inclined children for playing too long with their toys.
The Brick Lab, a play area stocked with LEGO bricks at the Science Museum, is included in the special exhibition ticket. Visitors to The Art of the Brick will have the opportunity to see Sawaya at work on a new piece on Saturday, July 31.
The Art of the Brick features 29 whimsical three-dimensional works created from nearly one million colorful pieces. Sawayaís attention to detail, scale, color and sense of action elevates this common toy to the status of art. He has the uncanny ability to make little rectangular bricks produce curved forms.
The exhibit includes portraits and human figures, a 19-foot-long dinosaur skeleton, abstract constructions, and common objects such as a giant pencil and a skateboard. Both beautiful and playful, the exhibit appeals to adults and children alike.
As a child, Sawaya drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and also played with LEGO. After college at NYU he rediscovered LEGO not as a toy, but as an art medium.
He has been featured on national television, including The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report. In January of this year, there was an entire Jeopardy TV quiz show category devoted to The Lego Art of Nathan Sawaya.
His work has been featured in museum collections including the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York; the Toy Museum in Bellaire, Ohio; the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, Illinois, and the Stamford Museum in Stamford, Connecticut.
Nathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates awe-inspiring works out of some of the most unlikely things. He is a former New York lawyer. His recent North American museum tours feature large-scale sculptures using only toy building blocks. LEGO bricks to be exact.
Sawaya's art is currently touring North American museums in a show titled, The Art of the Brick.
It ís the only exhibition focusing exclusively on LEGO as an art medium.
The creations, constructed from nearly one million pieces, were built from standard bricks beginning as early as 2000.
Today Sawaya has more than 1.5 million colored bricks in his New York art studio. His work is obsessively and painstakingly crafted and is both beautiful and playful. Sawaya's ability to transform LEGO bricks into something new, his devotion to scale and color perfection, the way he conceptualizes the action of the subject matter, enables him to elevate an ordinary toy to the status of fine art.
According to journalist Scott Jones, "Sawaya is a surrealist mash-up of forms and artists. Imagine Frank Lloyd Wright crossed with Ray Harryhausen, or Auguste Rodin crossed with Shigeru Miyamoto, and you start to get a sense of where Sawaya is coming from."
Sawaya's art form takes shape primarily in 3-dimensional sculptures and oversized portraits. He continues to create daily while accepting commission work from around the world.
Nathan Sawaya: The Art of the Brick is made possible through the support of Michele and Donald D'Amour.
The Springfield Museums are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield, Mass. Free parking is available in the Edwards Street parking lots. Summer hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Science Museum open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.).
Fee provides admission to all four Springfield Museums and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org
Tomorrow...History of LEGO