I’ve been a little light on posting lately, because we’ve been taking family trips here and there. Last weekend, we finally got to “The Art of the Brick” exhibit at the Franklin Institute (which is around for another month, if you’re interested). It’s a pretty neat exhibit if you are, say, a small child and love Legos. It’s also a pretty neat exhibit if you’re a grownup.
Much of the exhibit consisted of Nathan Sawaya’s Lego versions of famous works of art. Which is impressive all by itself. But his works were displayed with an image of the original artwork, including information about the artist and why the piece is so revered. There were a lot of kids walking around the exhibit, and I’m willing to bet it was the first-ever art exhibit for a few of them; I appreciated Sawaya’s throwing in an art history lesson or two.
His original works all had to do with the creative process, and how he saw the creative process, and how other people had tried to hold him back from achieving his dreams but he kept at it anyway. Which, OK, is not the most original concept if you’ve been to your share of art exhibits. On the other hand, I think in this case, the medium is the message. I’m sure a lot of people did tell him not to quit his respectable day job to play with Legos for a living. That chorus of doubters would get in anyone’s head. So he’s entitled to toss in a few “So there!” sculptures.
Also, going back to those kids: I think Sawaya is very aware of who his main audience is, and I think he tailors his message to that audience. He wants children to believe in themselves and follow their dreams the way he did, and can you fault him for that?
What the exhibit reminded me of most was Anton Ego. And I quote: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” And, occasionally, use Legos.
(One side note: I was secretly disappointed that we couldn’t get a replica of Sawaya’s Lego Oscar. I don’t think we have enough yellow bricks lying around to make our own. Ah well.)