The Art of the Brick Exhibit features over 100 LEGO sculptures and 1 million LEGO bricks

The Art of the Brick Dinosaur Skeleton Credit: Nerd Reactor

Photo by Nerd Reactor

The Art of the Brick is¬†now open at California Science Center, and it features over 100 LEGO sculptures from artist Nathan Sawaya. That’s over one million LEGO bricks used for the exhibit, ranging from a giant LEGO dinosaur skeleton to Ancient Roman and Greek sculptures. In addition to seeing these wonderful pieces of art, guests will also get behind-the-scenes information via videos and placards.

“The Art of the Brick is made up of over 100 sculptures all out of Lego bricks, and it’s been on tour for over 10 years now,” Sawaya tells Nerd Reactor. “It’s been touring the globe, and it’s the first time we’ve brought this particular exhibition to Los Angeles. I’m so very excited to see people’s reactions and see what they think. It’s a show that’s very personal to me. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into each one of these works of art. These hands have created everything you see here today.”

Roman and Greek Sculptures

Photo by Nerd Reactor

The exhibit is a combination of works inspired by popular paintings and sculptures and abstract ideas. One area is dedicated to the Roman and Greek sculptures. The Venus De Milo by the ancient Greek artist Alexandros is a 1:1 scale with 18,483 LEGO pieces. Augustus of Prima Porta is a 1:1 scale replica that uses 22,300 LEGO pieces. Michelangelo’s David is a 1:2 scale with 16,349 LEGO pieces.

Dinosaur Skeleton

Photo by Nerd Reactor

One of the largest sculptures Sawaya has ever built was the dinosaur skeleton. The dimensions are 237 x 76 x 40 inches using 80,020 LEGO pieces, and it took him an entire summer to finish. His inspiration was to create something to give back to children who visited his first solo exhibit.

“I bought a three-foot¬†maquette of a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton so that I could really understand exactly what the anatomy was,” Sawaya said of the giant dinosaur. “Yeah, I got into it. I’m working. I’m gluing each individual bricks together. So it’s a very slow process. If I make a mistake, I have to use a hammer and chisel to take it apart.”

In Pieces Series

The Art of the Brick - Photography Red Dress

“There’s a gallery that has a collaboration with photographer Dean West, where we’re taking my Lego sculptures and integrating them into his hyper-realistic photography, which is a new approach and a very fun collaboration,” Sawaya explained.

The In Pieces series features isolated individuals posing in front of minimalist scenes that can be haunting. Imagine finding Waldo, but instead of Waldo, you’re looking for the LEGO sculpture.

The Art of the Brick Red Dress - Photo by Nerd Reactor

Photo by Nerd Reactor

One of our favorite images is the Red Dress, with features a woman in a red LEGO dress standing in front of a theater on a cold and snowy night. The actual red dress is showcased inside the exhibit, and it’s breathtaking to see it in person.

“It’s an exhibition that really spans my entire career,” Sawaya said. “You’re seeing works that go from my very early days to stuff that’s more recent. So there are some things that are very representational. Like when I was just starting out, I would see something, just trying to replicate it out of Lego. And there are some pieces that are much more surreal that have some more emotion to them, very avant-garde if you will.”

Creating these LEGO sculptures come in different phases, and Sawaya talks about the process.

“You know, it’s a reverse bell curve,” Sawaya said. “You start out really happy and then just start questioning everything you’re doing with your life. You build back up to it. I mean, building with LEGO bricks is a perfect example. It’s a metaphor almost because every brick you get closer to that last point. And then the excitement builds.”

The Art of the Brick Exhibition opens February 28, 2020, at the California Science Center (700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037).

Photo by Nerd Reactor

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