Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets to The Art of the Brick exhibit at The Franklin Institute to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Whether you’re a Lego connoisseur, a Lego Master-in-training, an art history nerd like me, or just a fan of color and innovation, you’re sure to love “The Art of the Brick”, The Franklin Institute’s latest special exhibit. Artist Nathan Sawaya used over a million brightly colored Lego bricks to create this impressive exhibit of his own original sculptures, as well as Lego’d interpretations of art history’s most famous offerings.
After watching a short video detailing the lawyer-turned-Lego sculptor’s artistic adventures with Lego bricks, the kids and I entered the exhibit and were greeted by a stunning Lego recreation of Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ – which incidentally also happens to be one of my favorite paintings. From Da Vinci and Vermeer to Monet and Munch, the first room was a tribute to the masters of painting. As we continued through the exhibit, we saw everything from The David and the Venus de Milo to a Lego’d Degas’ ‘Little Dancer’ and a giant Easter Island head. Being an art history nerd, I was thrilled to see Sawaya’s interpretation of van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and the Venus of Willendorf. While my toddler daughter’s knowledge of art history is limited, she was still plenty excited to see the ‘crazy kitty cat’ (the Sphinx), ‘the farmers’ (American Gothic), and ‘the pretty stars’ (Starry Night).
As we traveled deeper into the exhibit, Sawaya’s own sculpture’s were on display…and they’re not your Grandma’s Lego builds. You and your kids will be delighted as you wander past the giant T-Rex and through tree hugger’s forest. Somewhere between the ‘fixed’ Liberty Bell and the series of giant colorful skulls, you will seriously consider moving to New York to become a Lego artist. Even if Lego sculpture isn’t your thing, I can’t imagine anyone not being impressed by the sheer magnitude of Sawaya’s work. The dedication involved in creating such labor-intensive pieces is enough to move just about anyone, art lover or not.
Do you and your little ones a favor and visit “The Art of the Brick” exhibit before it leaves the Franklin Institute on September 6. If you’re not a Lego fanatic now, “The Art of the Brick” is guaranteed to make you one by the time you leave!
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit fi.edu. You can also follow The Franklin Institute on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Franklin Institute is located at 222 North 20th Street in Philadelphia.
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