So contrary to popular belief, I am not dead, just being productive... during summer.
Anywho, yesterday I was lucky enough to go to Nathan Sawaya's "Art of the Brick" Exhibit in NYC, and thought that not only would this audience enjoy hearing about it, but it could also get me back into blagging. Who knows, I might actually learn how to post images to show pics of what I've been working on recently.
Now I assume you guys know Nathan Sawaya, but if you don't, the image of a yellow LEGO statue breaking open its chest should ring a bell... or whatever the equivalent idiom is that applies to an image, rather than a name or a noise. The exhibition opened up a few days ago in Times Square, and I was lucky to be in the city yesterday and today. So naturally I dragged my mother and my two aunts to go to the exhibition with me.
We were greeted by a sign that prohibited the use of cameras for photos or videos, which made me very sadfaecd, as the only place where pictures could be taken was next to a LEGO sculpture of a "man" sitting in a chair.
However, that sadness quickly vanished as we entered the exhibition and were greeted by Nathan Sawaya's recreations of famous artworks. Pieces like Edvard Munch's "The Scream", the Lascaux Caves "Horse", and Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" were recreated in a unique way; while the background of the image (such as Munch's sundown-background and Klimt's brown background) was modeled a-la LEGO mosaic, Sawaya built the main figures in a 3D way, and so, for example, you could examine the screaming face from all angles, and Sawaya's vision of what it would be like if it sprung from out of the painting. In other areas, famous paintings were recreated a-la mosaic. The beauty in these was not the process of recreating the arwtork (PicToBrick can already do that), but rather looking at the original and seeing what colors, building techniques, and pieces Sawaya used to remake the piece of work out of LEGO. My favorite of these was Rembrandt's "1657 Self Portrait", as Sawaya used only a mixture of three different brown and orange colors, built as a side view LEGO mosaic, to accurately portray the shadows created on the human skin in the painting.
Later on, we were greeted by Michelangelo's "David" as the next room had famous statues and structures rebuilt in LEGO. The most imposing was a Moai head from Easter Island, to scale. It was quite monumental.
Now these pieces were all amazing as they were accurate yet jaw-dropping representations of famous artwork, but then came the part I was truly excited for: Sawaya's own art. Up to this point for my mom, she was just going through another version of BrickFair, where a fan decided to pay homage to something that already existed through LEGO.
I cannot hope to describe all of Sawaya's artwork present at the exhibition, mainly because much of it can be seen on the gallery of his website. And we all know how amazing it looks from those pictures. The truly beautiful part of the exhibition was that each piece was accompanied by a little message from Nathan to us about what the piece meant. So while Sawaya built a giant peace sign out of all-colored bricks, he explained that the only way to achieve peace in the world was by joining all the colors of the world together. While Sawaya delighted us with statues of three figures with a sphere, a cube, and a pyramid as a head, he explained that if everyone in the world looked the same it would all be boring, and that he wanted us to consider how the triangle, square and circle, along with the colors red, blue and yellow, were basic components in architecture or colors. In this sense, Sawaya was able to truly transform the already beautiful structures into art with a message, a philosophy. At this point I became aware this stopped being an exhibition for my inner LEGO enthusiast to gawk at and consider all the building techniques and pieces used; now it was a fantastic art exhibition, where each piece of art conveyed a different message about the artist, about human nature, about ourselves.
I must admit I was heartbroken when the exhibition ended, and I walked out to purchase a book of Sawaya's art and a t-shirt. But to see how this exhibition had spoken not only to me, but to my family and to the other tourists, was very encouraging.
If there's one thing I can take from the exhibition, and that you should too if you cannot attend (though, please, by any means possible try to go at least once), is the very first piece that greeted us in the exhibition officially and which is on the shirt I bought yesterday and am now wearing: a giant grey LEGO hand holding a simple 3x2 red brick, reminding us that it all begins with just one brick.
So keep imagining.