The Art of the Brick – Not Your Typical LEGO® Build

the author, pretending to be a Lego person holding a tree with the title "The Art of the Brick: Not Your Typical Lego Build"

A couple of weeks ago, our friend Nicole came to visit us from Australia. She had never been to Oregon, so we tried to hit as many of the highlights as we could in the six days we had together. There was still snow on the ground, so some locations were not feasible, but we did spend two days on the Oregon/northern California coast and three days in the greater Portland area. The remaining two days were spent tooling around our little town and nearby Roseburg, mainly shopping and cooking.

Boo lives in greater Portland. She works at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). When I told her we were bringing Nicole to Portland for a visit, Boo told us that OMSI was running a special exhibit called The Art of the Brick. We knew we had to go.

Nicole is a huge LEGO fan. She has a four year old nephew, who most of her purchases go to, but truth be told, she keeps some of them for herself. She took me to the LEGO store in Tigard and, I have to say, I would have bought the LEGO Disney Castle, if I could’ve afforded it. So cute!!

OMSI is located in the Industrial District of Portland, on the Willamette River. It was built in 1992, and encompasses the existing Portland General Electric turbine building. The museum has six permanent exhibits, eight labs, and a theater and planetarium, as well as rotating special exhibits, like The Art of the Brick.

Of course, as soon as we parked and paid our admission, the first thing we had to do was find  Boo! She works at the cafe at OMSI.

the author with her husband and daughter
Art, Boo and I outside her work (with a photo bomb by one of her co-workers)

After our visit with Boo, we went straight to The Art of the Brick. The exhibit starts out with a short video by award-winning artist, Nathan Sawaya. Previously a NYC corporate lawyer, Sawaya is the first artist to ever take LEGO into the art world.

After the video, we were free to walk around the 2 stories of exhibit. It would be impossible, for me to describe, so instead I’ll share with you some of the amazing sculptures we experienced.

art of the brick lego
A re-creation of one of the rose windows at the Chartres Cathedral in France.

Lego musical notes that look like human heads

a Lego man peeling off the outer layer to reveal a Lego skull underneath

A Lego man kneeling over the pieces he needs to make hands
Art thought this sculpture was funny, but I thought it was sad. The pieces for his hands are within his reach, but he can’t reach them because he has no hands!!

Lego raindrops in a frame

the author pondering a pondering Lego person

photo of a woman wearing a Lego dress, waiting in the snow outside a movie theater with the marquee "On the Run"
This was a collaboration between Nathan Sawaya and a photographer. The dress is made of LEGO and was superimposed onto the model.
The red Lego dress with a red Lego umbrella
and here’s the dress

And that is just a very small sampling of the many beautiful and thought-provoking sculptures at The Art of the Brick exhibit. Check it out at a museum near you.

I did not receive any compensation for this post. I bought my own tickets and wanted to share the experience with my readers.

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