Visitors to the Morris Museum this winter will be delighted by a new exhibition featuring over 25 awe-inspiring and thought-provoking large-scale sculptures created out of LEGO® bricks by artist Nathan Sawaya. The Morris Museum
opened The Art of the Brick®, which will be on view through February 19, 2012. While the exhibition is on view, a special area has been set up where visitors, inspired by Sawaya's work, can build their own fantastic LEGO creations. Several special programs are planned, including a Peoples Choice LEGO Competition at the Dec. 27 Toyland Family Festival, and, in January, a series of architect-led LEGO community architectural workshops.
Nathan Sawaya and The Art of the Brick®
Nathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates large-scale sculptures and oversized mosaic portraits using only toy building blocks: LEGO bricks. A common toy is elevated to the status of fine art through Sawayas ability to transform LEGO bricks into something new. The sculptures on view in The Art of the Brick are beautiful and playful, yet obsessively and painstakingly crafted, reflecting Sawayas devotion to scale and color perfection, and the way he conceptualizes the action of the subject matter.
Sawaya works on his own, using the same LEGO bricks that are sold at toy stores (no special colors or bricks are made for him by the LEGO company). A life-size, human-form sculpture typically takes 2-4 weeks to complete, depending on the complexity, and has 15,000-25,000 bricks.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Sawaya moved to New York City in 1991 to attend New York University. After college, he rediscovered his childhood passion for LEGO, not as a toy, but rather as a medium for his art. His creations 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. Sawaya has been featured on leading talk shows and news programs, including The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, The Colbert Report and CBS Sunday Morning. For more information on Nathan Sawaya and The Art of the Brick, visit www.brickartist.com.
Speaking about The Art of the Brick, Nathan Sawaya says, I use LEGO bricks as my medium because I enjoy seeing peoples reactions to artwork created from something with which they are familiar. Everyone can relate to it since it is a toy that many children have at home. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before, and to open the art world to children through a familiar medium. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the medium: the right angles and the distinct lines. As so often in life, it is a matter of perspective. Up close, the shape of the brick is distinctive. But from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines change to curves.